BEREA, Ohio--There was a time in the preseason when various teams around the NFL came calling for Josh McCown, once Robert Griffin III was named as the starting quarterback.
Tony Romo went down in Dallas and Teddy Bridgewater went down in Minnesota and it is believed the Browns received calls, particularly when Romo was injured.
However, Hue Jackson is glad that McCown is still with the Browns after the injury announced that will sideline Griffin for no less than eight games.
"That's why you keep (McCown) here," Jackson said. "I said that to you guys a long time ago that I think that you have to have quarterbacks on your football team to play in this league. That's why we kept Josh here. He knows how to play and he understands our offense what were trying to do.
"It's unfortunate that this happened to Robert, but it is comforting to know that Josh has played in NFL games and knows how to win games, knows how to play games and play within the system."
McCown has not been the most durable quarterback himself, missing eight games in 2015 due to four different injuries.
McCown, 37, is in his 14th NFL season and he has started 57 games in the NFL. McCown is ready for this type of situation. Last year, McCown started the season, but suffered a concussion in the first quarter of the first game against the Jets. After missing the next game, McCown returned to start the next six games before injuring his shoulder and ribs and missed two more games. McCown returned on Nov. 30 to play the Ravens, but suffered a broken clavicle, which ended his season on injured reserve.
“Everything just kind of works out and you never know," McCown said. "That is why clichés are clichés. It is a day at a time type of business and life really. You know that you have this day and you go do everything you can to conquer that day and whatever tasks you have and then wake up and get ready to do it again tomorrow. That is my mindset. Here we are today with an unfortunate injury to Robert, but it is now time for me to step up and serve my team as the backup quarterback and step in for an injured player and do the best I can to help us.
"I will try to have a good day today and I will conquer the off-day tomorrow pretty good, I think, and then we will get going," he said. "Our focus is on Baltimore and what we need to do to clean up some of the things from the game yesterday.”
McCown will face the Ravens in his first game, a team that he set a Browns franchise record last year by throwing for 457 yards against on Oct. 11in an overtime win. McCown finished 2015 with a 93.3 rating and threw for 2,109 yards with 12 touchdowns and only four interceptions in just eight games.
McCown is looking forward to getting a chance to play, despite the opportunity coming at the expense of Griffin.
“Absolutely, as long as that is going to help us and move us toward victories and wins because that is what was missing last year," he said. "We were good in some statistical columns, but the one that matters we didn’t get it done and we had to find a way to do that. For me, it is just functioning within the system, not doing any more than that but just functioning in the system and knowing that when we go out there and we do win games, it is going to be as a team.
"I’m excited about playing, absolutely. Especially, as we’ve talked about before, at my tender age (laughter), these opportunities you do not take lightly," he said. "I’m looking forward to competing with these guys. I loved watching them play yesterday and watching them fight so I want to do whatever I can to help us.”
Jackson said he doesn't think the offense will have to change drastically with McCown at the helm
“I’m sure there are bits and pieces that will, but at the same time, he has been here through OTAs, training camp and the preseason," Jackson said. "I know what he is capable of doing, and we will tailor things to him. I don’t think we have to totally change our offense from what it has been.”
With Griffin out for a minimum of eight games, either rookie Cody Kessler will be McCown's backup or the Browns will bring in another veteran quarterback. Rookie quarterback Kevin Hogan is on the practice squad and could be promoted.
Jackson said Kessler has to be ready now that he's a play away from playing.
“He has got to practice," Jackson said. "The times you saw him in preseason, he had not had an opportunity to have a lot of snaps in practice because normally the guys that played in the preseason were the guys that we were trying to somewhat get ready to play. If it turns into that, we just have to get him some more reps than what he had before. We will cross that bridge as we go through this week.”