BEREA—Josh McCown said he wasn’t sure what Mike Pettine’s decision would be when he was cleared from the concussion, but he did know one thing.
McCown was named to start Sunday’s game with the Raiders over Johnny Manziel, who led the Browns to their first win of the season.
“There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to come back and be prepared to play,” McCown said. “Coach Pettine and the coaches—anytime you have a situation like this— obviously with a young guy like Johnny, picked in the first round and playing the way he did there are so many positives to draw from, so all I knew for me, which I’ve said since I got here, I’m going to prepare like I’m the guy until I’m told otherwise. l prepare to do whatever it takes to help our team win. That’s my mindset and as a competitor you always expect to play.”
McCown was sidelined for the majority of the season opener after suffering a concussion when he tried to score a touchdown on third-and-14 as he dove for the end zone. He said it is his expectation that he will pick up where he left off on the final play of the first drive of the season.
“I’m very confident,” very confident he said. “I’m confident in what I saw us do Sunday as an offense. I feel very confident in our ability to do it and in myself.”
McCown said he appreciates the confidence that Pettine showed in him by naming him the starter.
“It means a lot,” McCown said. “Coach Pettine believes enough in me to put me back out there. I appreciate that and for all of those reasons you want to go out and play good football.”
McCown said he empathizes with Manziel because he’s been in that situation before.
“I’ve been on both sides,” he said. “I’ve been with the first-rounder and everyone is waiting on that guy to play. As a competitor, you wouldn’t be in those situations if you didn’t want to play.”
He also said he knows the fans might want to see the young quarterback and not the journeyman.
“I get it,” he said. “But I think these fans just want to see the Browns win and that’s what we’re all trying to do.”
McCown said he couldn’t guarantee that he would slide next time he’s in the situation where he thinks he can score a touchdown.
“Looking back, obviously, anytime you look back you can second guess, but I can’t guarantee (not sliding) because in those moments I don’t give up easily,” he said. ”I’m a way better quarterback on Monday morning.”
Big Play Benjamin: WR Travis Benjamin has earned AFC Special Teams Players of the Week for games played Sept. 17-21 (Week 2), the National Football League announced Wednesday.
In a 28-14 victory against Tennessee on Sunday, Benjamin caught three passes for a career-high 115 yards, including touchdowns of 50 and 60 yards and returned a punt 78-yards for a touchdown. His first score, a 60-yard touchdown catch, came on the Browns’ second play of the game. He added a 78-yard punt-return touchdown just before halftime and sealed the game with a 50-yard touchdown grab with 2:52 to play.
“(The award) is just a compliment to me and I appreciate it,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin totaled 154 punt return yards, the third-most in a single-game in Browns history and he is now tied for second for the most punt-return touchdowns in Browns history.
“We all know that Travis (Benjamin) was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Big tip of the hat to him but also Chris Tabor, (assistant special teams coach) Shawn Mennenga and (special teams coaching intern) Stan Watson. Those guys have done an outstanding job preparing our units. They are always ready to go. I believe this is the sixth time under Chris a Brown has won the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.”
Benjamin became the first player in Browns history to record two receiving scores and a punt return touchdown in the same game and the first NFL player to do so since St. Louis’ Tavon Austin on Nov. 10, 2013.
With a 54-yard touchdown catch last week against the Jets (Sept. 13), Benjamin is the first NFL player with four 50+ yard touchdowns in the first two games of a season since Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown in 1963.
Benjamin’s efforts helped the Browns win consecutive home openers for the first time since 1989-90.
This is Benjamin’s third Special Teams Player of the Week Award as he also won in Week 14 in 2013 and Week 5 in 2012. He is the first Browns player to be named Special Teams Player of the Week since Tank Carder in Week 5 in 2014.
Moeller Suspension Continues: OL Andy Moeller will remain under suspension by the team for the domestic incident a couple of weeks ago. The Browns issued a statement after the Berea prosecutor said they were not filing charges at this time.
“On Andy Moeller, we released a statement and you all saw it,” Pettine said. “His status with the team has not changed. I do not have anything to add at this point.
Bryant Misses: The Browns issued a pre practicer injury report with seven players listed with an injury: QB Josh McCown (concussion), QB Johnny Manziel (right elbow), OL Mitchell Schwartz (thumb), DL Desmond Bryant (shoulder), LB Barkevious Mingo (knee), LB Scott Solomon (ankle) and RB Robert Turbin (ankle). OL Joe Thomas was given a scheduled day of rest.
“On the injury front, (DL) Des(mond) Bryant would be the only addition to the list,” Pettine said. “He will not be available to practice today. Turbin is making progress as is Scott Solomon. They both will remain out this week.