BEREA—No one is going to question Josh McCown’s toughness.
Moving very slowly and deliberately in the locker room Tuesday, McCown’s goal is to play in just two days against the undefeated Bengals on the road in a nationally televised game. McCown is battling a rib injury that hasn’t been diagnosed as bruised or broken by the team. He also has been battling a sore right shoulder. He missed the second game of the season against Tennessee after suffering a concussion in the opening series of the first game against the New York Jets.
“A little better than yesterday, but obviously, some of the things I’m dealing with are just kind of going to be what we’re dealing with," McCown said. "Training staff is doing a great job of helping me feel as good as possible. Better than yesterday, and hopefully, just keep that up.
“Thursday’s a few days from now so we’re just focused on today, how we feel today," he said. "It’s really just you take it a day at a time and see where we’re at. That’s kind of the plan of action right now.”
In the seven games that McCown has started, he has been sacked 22 times and been knocked down another 43 times.
“This part of what we do is part of the job,” McCown said. “I’m not the only guy in the locker room that’s sore. It’s just part of as you go to work and do your job things that happen. Just do the best to fight through it.”
McCown was asked point blank if he would be able to play Thursday if the game were today.
“The safe thing is I don’t have to make a decision (today)," he said. "That’s all I can tell you. We’ll see where it goes from there.”
As he did last week, McCown did say that he plans on playing.
“Yeah, I guess as we move forward, we’ll see how that goes," he said. "I’m going to prepare and do everything I can, like I’ve told you the last few weeks, to be ready to play. That’s my mindset.”
McCown took a shot to his ribs against the Cardinals and looked as though he was gasping for air, but waved off bringing in Johnny Manziel to replace him. He was asked if he made the right decision by not coming out of the game.
“Yeah, I do just because I looked at the last throw to Travis (Benjamin) on the sideline against (Patrick) Peterson, that’s for me one of the harder throws because it’s to the field and it’s a back shoulder throw and I was able to make that throw," he said. "Yeah, even looking back now, I don’t feel like it affected me at all.”
With his current physical state, battling bruised ribs and a sore shoulder, McCown was asked if it would be best for him to shut down for the week.
“I’m not wired that way. I just can’t.”
McCown said the rib issues is likely something he will have to deal with and play through for the rest of the season.
“(The injury) is chalked under pain tolerance and it’s time more than anything (needed to heal) and right now we don’t have that on our side for this game or even the season when you don’t have the time to let it heal,” he said. “You just want to get to the point where everything is stable and then be able to manage the pain.”
McCown admitted he doesn’t feel as good on Tuesday as he did right after the game.
“That’s probably fair,” he said. “When you’re dealing with ribs it affects breathing and stuff like that. Sleeping is not the easiest thing.
“When you’re in the game, the adrenaline, it’s a different feeling once you’re warm and you’re in the middle of the game and you have your adrenaline going," he said. "Obviously, when the game ends – we’ve already talked about the next day and stuff like that – there’s a different feeling to it. To put your body back through that stress may not be the best thing immediately. It doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t play on Thursday. It just means why would you do that to yourself on Tuesday when you’re trying to play on Thursday.”
McCown said if he doesn’t think he can help the team win he will talk to the coaches about it.
“Absolutely, I think Coach Pett, first and foremost, he wants to win football games and he wants to do what’s best for our team," he said. "If they come to that point, we’ll talk together. If we feel like we’re doing something that’s not going to help our team, then we’ll react accordingly. We’ve talked about that and that’s the great thing about Coach Pett is he’s been very open with the communication, and that’s been good.”
McCown said if he’s unable to play this week, he will do everything he can to help Manziel in his preparation. He said he has confidence that Manziel will be prepared.
“Absolutely, he was here last year so he’s been through two weeks or preparation for this team and on a short week, as well," he said. "He’s drawn from those experiences. Just like any work week, we’ll work well together to make sure we’re both prepared and ready to go so that doesn’t change for us.”
Manziel started his first NFL game against the Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium last season on Dec. 14 and it didn’t go well. The Browns lost 30-0 and Manziel finished just 10-of-18 for 80 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. He rushed five times for 13 yards and had a rating of just 27.3.
Many Concussions: The Browns have four players in the concussion protocol and likely all four will miss Thursday’s game: DB Joe Haden, DB Donte Whitner, WR Andrew Hawkins and WR Brian Hartline are still dealing with the head injuries. TE Rob Housler (hamstring), DB Jordan Poyer (shoulder) were listed as did not practice, while LB Nate Orchard is questionable.Wynn Back: DL Dylan Wynn was re-signed to the practice squad, while DL Ray Drew was released.