Josh McCown and Cody Kessler are starting Browns Training Camp in very different places

With Cody Kessler starting his first Training Camp and Josh McCown, each has a separate mindset going into the season.


BEREA, Ohio--Josh McCown has been around the NFL for a long time.

But does that mean he'll be around for a second season with the Browns?

“I hope so," McCown said Friday prior to the first practice of training camp. "Obviously, this is the time of year where across 32 teams all of us are coming to camp to make a ball team. That’s my mindset and I’m going to do everything I can to help this team and to be ready to make this ball team.

"That’s how you have to play really and truly, I think, if you want to be a good player, that’s how you approach it anyway," he said. "What do I need to do today to solidify my job, to keep my job, and to keep playing at the level I expect to play at? That’s my mindset going into camp. I have that kind of focus. Its also to be able to share with these young guys and help get them ready. So that’ll be my approach."

McCown, who just turned 37 on July 4th, is in his 14th NFL season. He was asked if knowing that Hue Jackson is going to name a starting quarterback sooner than later is a good thing. Jackson said he will name the starter before the preseason opener on Aug. 12--just two weeks from today.

“I think so," he said. "I think it gives us a sense of direction and the way he’s headed. The team and everyone can get behind the guy and move forward. I think we’re all supportive of that. I just think sometimes if it drags out and lingers it can be a distraction.  You name a guy and move forward, and everybody gets behind that guy. I trust his leadership on that. Im in favor of that. It is what’s best for the team. He’ll make a wise decision and we’ll move forward."

Any of a number scenarios could play out regarding McCown. Most observers feel that barring a major setback Jackson intends to name Robert Griffin III the starting quarterback before the preseason opener against Green Bay. Beyond that, it is unknown if McCown will be the backup in case Griffin III falters or is injured or if Jackson will elect to have Austin Davis or rookie Cody Kessler back up Griffin III. 

There is also the possibility that McCown could be traded during the preseason to a team that might suffer an injury to their quarterback. He also could be outright released.

McCown played in just half of the games last season, missing eight games with four different injuries. He finished the season on injured reserve with a broken clavicle, missing the final five games. 

Despite the injury-filled season, McCown completed 63.7 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. His quarterback rating was 93.3. He also threw for a franchise record 457 yards in a win over the Ravens on Oct. 11.

McCown said he feels the sooner the quarterback is named, the better even though training camp will be less than two weeks old.

 “But remember we did have spring," McCown said. "I know it’s not a game. But we had spring and we’re going to have these practices right now. I understand. Its really kind of the side of the fence you fall on and how you look at it. From my experience in going through quarterback competitions, I believe the earlier the better. I think it helps.
"I’m thankful that the coach is going to take that approach," he said. "I certainly see your point. I think we trust the coach’s decision. We trust our preparation. If a guy gets named, his ability to get ready to go, it’s going to be the right decision and we’re going to move forward and get behind the guy."
Kessler, 23, is at the other end of the spectrum from McCown, just starting his NFL career.
Kessler, the team's third-round pick in this year's draft is trying to learn on the job.
"I'm the rookie, so I'm the guy who's learning from these older guys," Kessler said. "But at the same time, I want to compete. That's kind of how I've been my whole life. I've always competed. I've kind of always had that blue-collar mentality to come in and work hard. But Robert's a great player. Josh is one of the best vets, best minds in football, I think. He's taught me so much since I've got here. Same thing with Robert and Austin, another guy who's started a couple of games and who has played live reps."
McCown said regardless of what happens, his approach will not change.
“My approach is the same," he said. "I can’t make the day go any faster. The reps are going to be the reps whether he names it in two weeks or he names it in six weeks. It doesn’t change my approach and all the things I said earlier. As a player you just need to wake up and trust your process and go through your day. It’s really how I try to live my life. Tomorrow is not promised. So you don’t know. If you just do that, then at night you can lay down, go to bed and have a good night’s rest because you did everything you can control.
"The other things – whether you’re on the team or not on the team – all of that in our business and in life you can’t control," he said. "So I’m not going to waste a lot of time worrying about that. I’m just going to focus on those things, my process for getting ready, and also to help the young guys. That’ll be my focus. In two weeks, we’ll know something and get behind that and move forward."
Kessler agreed.
"It doesn't change my mentality," Kessler said. "My mentality is still the same. I'm going to control what I can control and that's how I play and that's how I practice and that's how I learn the playbook and learn defenses and do everything the right way. For me, I'm just excited to have an opportunity. ... Whatever that decision may be, it's not going to change my process even after that. I'm still going to continue to prepare like a starter, compete, but at the same time learn from the other guys."
For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove & @FredGreetham

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