Despite going out of his way to maintain that Josh McCown is the team’s starting quarterback, Mike Pettine still won’t name him officially as the team’s opening day quarterback.
“I’ve said that before, I’m not into guaranteeing or announcing a game (one) week starter,” Pettine said on a conference call Friday with local media. “To me, that comes down the road. We’re just looking for a good week of preparation for Tampa and to get better.”
Pettine said he’s not worried about what the perception is outside the organization.
“I worry about things I have control over,” he said. “I don’t control the questions outside the building and I’m not going to have my actions based on that. We have a plan for our quarterback room as we do for all of our position rooms and we’re going to stick to it.”
Pettine said Johnny Manziel's performance against Buffalo didn’t change his status on the depth chart. Manziel was 10-of-18 for 118 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions and a rating of 94.2.
“I just don’t want too much read into it,” Pettine said. “We feel we have a pretty good plan for Johnny’s development and I think we’re on schedule with it. I think he’s shown great improvement from the day he set foot back in the building. We get very individualized during the preseason and we want him to go out and do his job on one play and push the reset button and do it again.
“I don’t want to get too wrapped up in the big picture stuff,” he said. “Those meetings are all down the road, but we feel good where Johnny as the number two and we feel good where Josh is with the number one.
“We also understand a large part of it is the supporting cast, but again our thoughts on the quarterback picture are the same this morning as they were going into last night.”
Pettine assessed the performance of his top two quarterbacks.
“First of all, with Josh, I think there were a couple throws he would want to have back,” he said. “He made some good plays, but he just wasn’t as settled with his feet in the pocket that he had been, which is something we need to work on.
“Our protection wasn’t what it should be, but that was a pretty good front we were going against, but overall I thought he did some good things,” he said. “He had good command, but we’re in a results business and unfortunately, he had the one tipped interception and the other was a ball that he clearly forced it. That was a lesson that we’d rather learn in the preseason than in the regular season.”
McCown finished 7-of-10 for 57 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions and a rating of just 44.6. He was also sacked three times to just once for Manziel.
On Manziel, Pettine said.
“I thought Johnny early on did some good things,” he said. “I thought he got a little ragged at the end and that might be more of a function of the circumstances of the game, who he was out there with.
“Overall, I think he made strides,” he said. “ He was still calm in the pocket. He was probably flushed more than we want him to be, but he still made some plays on the move with his feet. Overall, there were some good teaching moments for those guys.”
Pettine was asked what the plan is for Manziel.
“For him to go out and get better every day,” he said. “Learn a new system and for him to improve and be in a position when his number is called to be out there and perform for the Cleveland Browns that he can do it to the best of his ability.”
McCown Cleared: QB Josh McCown is “good to go” after having more tests on his injured index finger on his throwing hand.
“He was checked out this morning he is good to go,” Pettine said.
Pettine said McCown will not miss any practice time.
Bowie, Poyer Hurt: Pettine said that DB Jordan Poyer is in the concussion protocol and OL Michael Bowie injured his shoulder on the last play of the game. Bowie missed all of last season after having shoulder surgery. However, Pettine said he injured the other shoulder.
TE Gary Barnidge was cleared of having a concussion.
Reinforcements Coming: Pettine said there’s a good number of the players who have been out with injuries that he’s expecting to come back to practice very soon, and as soon as Saturday for some
“(Those with a) chance to be back (Saturday) are WR Marlon Moore (ribs), DB Justin Gilbert (hip), DB Joe Haden (hamstring), DB Pierre Desir (hamstring), RB Duke Johnson (hamstring), DB K'Waun Williams (hamstring), DB Tashaun Gipson (calf), DB De'ante Sanders (calf), FB Malcolm Johnson (shoulder), WR Dwayne Bowe (hamstring) and WR Terrelle Pryor (hamstring).