BEREA— On Wednesday afternoon, after announcing that Josh McCown would be the starting quarterback for the Browns against the Oakland Raiders, Mike Pettine said that he consulted other coaches for their opinions on the decision.
One of those coaches was Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who works with the quarterbacks on a fairly regular basis.
On Thursday, it was fairly obvious that Pettine had consulted his offensive coordinator when making the decision, as DeFilippo described the situation nearly verbatim.
“It was something that we thought about for a while,” DeFilippo said. “It wasn’t a quick decision. It was something that we did think about and it was very deliberate. Right now, we just feel that Josh McCown gives us the best chance to win.”
While that last phrase has been uttered time and time again by the Browns brass, DeFilippo offer a reason, maybe more so than any other, that Manziel won’t be trotting out with the first-team offense at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday— Johnny’s four fumbles in just two games.
““It had a factor. It definitely did. I am not going to lie to you and say it didn’t,” DeFilippo said. “The No. 1 thing when you play quarterback is you have to protect the football because if you don’t protect the football, then obviously you’re re not giving yourself the best chance to win.”
Manziel may not have done enough to earn his starting spot with Josh McCown coming back, but he did earn some high praise from the offensive coordinator.
“I am so proud of Johnny. I said it in front of the offense yesterday. I couldn’t be prouder of a young man and how far he has come, not only talking football but from a life standpoint, how far he has come,” DeFilippo said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the way Johnny has progressed, both on and off the football field.”
Though Pettine consulted DeFilippo amidst this decision, the Browns head coach was adamant that he did not consult any veterans about Josh McCown or Johnny Manziel.
Whether they were approached by their coach or not, a couple of Browns vets did have thoughts on McCown being named the starter and what it will mean for the team.
“I wouldn’t compare them, but I think Josh does a great job moving the ball down the field, and he rarely ever misdiagnoses a defense,” Browns left tackle Joe Thomas said. “He’s usually getting the ball out on time to the right person, and he’s giving you a chance to win on every play.”
A fellow veteran, Thomas can relate with McCown’s experience and said that his longevity will help him to return to form quickly, following his concussion.
“I don’t think he’s going to miss a beat at all,” Thomas said. When you’ve been in this league as long as he has, you’ve seen it all, and you’ve done it all, so there’s not really much that anybody can throw at you that’s going to make you miss a beat.”
For Thomas, the man behind center may not mean as much, simply because Thomas is more worried about who’s in front of him.
Brian Hartline, however, receives passes directly from the quarterback and said that he too would be comfortable with whoever is taking the snaps.
“If you have two guys to pick from and you have that question, that’s a positive,” Hartline said. “Both guys showed they can win in this league and they think that Josh is the guy for Sunday and I’m fully supportive of anything that they choose. That’s the reason why I’m here.”
With all of the support for both McCown and Manziel, DeFilippo believes that, finally, Cleveland might just be set at the quarterback position for the near and long-term future.
“I think so,” DeFilippo said, when asked if the future at quarterback is bright. “I definitely think so.”
For all of your Browns news, notes and analysis from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.