CLEVELAND -- Veteran quarterback Josh McCown may have played only one quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium last Sunday, but that was enough for him to realize one important thing.
After absorbing four of the eight sacks the Steelers registered in a 24-9 win over the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium, the 37-year old McCown wants to avoid such an outing again.
“I hope not to take many more hits like that,” McCown said with a laugh. “I watched it once and remembered vividly what it felt like (laughter) and hope that does not happen again.
“When you look at the tape and look what he did running downfield, turning and running downfield, that is the kind of effort that is how the game is supposed to be played. I was feeling good about making the first guy miss, and then, he was there. Hopefully, that is not the case anymore.”
McCown was pressed into service against the Steelers when for the second time this season, Browns rookie quarterback Cody Kessler suffered a concussion on a 16-yard pass on the second-to-last play of the third quarter.
McCown completed 14 of his 27 throws for 118 yards and one touchdown without an interception, but lost a fumble at the goal line that was recovered in the end zone by the Steelers to get the score to its final margin.
Following the loss, several Browns, including left tackle Joe Thomas and wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, spoke out on the need to build a better roster, one capable of protecting quarterbacks. And while McCown appreciates the support, he knows any sign of dissention can short-circuit the Browns’ future plans.
“We all want to be together,” McCown said. “I know (Terrelle) is fiery and he is passionate about wanting to get this thing right, and we all are. I appreciate him saying what he said, but it does not shake my confidence in the guys in front of me either because I trust those guys.
“For me, I look back at that game and look at what could I have done to move protections and to help things to get us in better matchups too. Collectively, we can all help it. The main thing is individually, you focus on what you can do to help it, and that is how we get better, so that is my focus.”
And with the Browns preparing to face a talented New York Giants defensive line in Cleveland Sunday, McCown knows it is going to take everyone to protect the quarterback and help the offense achieve a higher level of success.
“I am confident in the guys,” McCown said. “They are going to come back and fight. That is a good front. There is no doubt about it. They are big on the inside, and obviously, Jason Pierre-Paul is a very good player and so is Olivier Vernon.
“We know we will have our hands full blocking those guys, but I am excited about the group we have going out there. I know that they are going to fight and give us plenty of time to do what we need to do to move the football.”