For seven straight weeks, the Cleveland Browns have tried to run and pass their way to a victory under the direction of first-year head coach Hue Jackson, and seven times, they have come up short, oftentimes in the final quarter or overtime.
Browns quarterback Josh McCown knows that better than most after spending the last two seasons with the club, and is committed to doing whatever is necessary to win a game. And anything includes coming back from a left collarbone injury in less than six weeks’ time to reclaim the starting quarterback duties heading into Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.
“It is all hands on deck with everybody,” McCown said. “We need everybody that can play and can be available to go out there and play their best. It is no different for myself. You do everything you can to help until you are available. When you are available, if your number is called, you go out there and help that way.
“For me personally, that is my last bit of action, and it certainly lingers because it was a ton of good early in that game but didn’t finish the way we wanted it to. We do need to take another step and get over that hump. Whether it is me on the field helping us get over that hump or me on the sideline helping whoever is out there get over the hump, that is the key. Let’s just come together and try to find a way to get this done.”
Ironically enough, McCown’s return to action comes against a team that knocked him out of last year’s regular-season opener.
After the Browns took over inside their own 10-yard line, McCown methodically led them down the field. In the process, McCown and the Browns converted their first four attempts on third down.
However, when the Browns faced a third-and-goal from the Jets’ 14-yard line, the protection broke down and McCown escaped the pocket. McCown sprinted toward the end zone, but was hit near the goal line, fumbled the ball and the Jets recovered.
McCown helicoptered in the air after the hit and landed on his facemask, which prompted the independent neurologist on the sideline to take him to the locker room for evaluation for a concussion. Following the evaluation, McCown spent the next week-plus on the sideline.
“How would I like to land the helicopter? In the end zone with the ball (laughter),” McCown joked. “That would be great. For us, it is where we are in the season. It is the next game and it’s really the mentality that you always want to take is just the next one is the most important one.
“We would plan on winning this game. That is the same thing. That is a credit to our leadership, not only the veterans in this locker room, but to where Coach Jackson is pointing us is just the mindset. It is different than anything I have been around for a team who has not found success in the win-loss column to keep coming to work the way we do. That is our mindset.”