Cleveland Browns' Josh McCown 'excited for opportunity' to start

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns veteran quarterback Josh McCown was battered and bruised by the Pittsburgh Steelers in last Sunday’s 24-9 loss at FirstEnergy Stadium.

But after taking four sacks, including a strip sack at the goal line that resulted in the Steelers’ final touchdown of the game, and rookie Cody Kessler in the NFL Concussion Protocol, McCown is “excited for another opportunity” to start for the Browns against the New York Giants Sunday.

“Especially with the way our season has been going, you have to cherish all of these opportunities and go out and have a good week and get ready to go for Sunday,” McCown said. “You hate for it to come in on these kinds of circumstances.

“Cody has been recovering. It is unfortunate for that to happen, but at the same time, you have to step in and do your job and help the team remain focused.”

Over four appearances for the Browns this season, including two as a starter, McCown has completed only 65 of his 122 attempts (53.3 percent) for 778 yards and five touchdowns against six interceptions. Also, he has taken 11 sacks for 89 lost yards, including four in just one quarter of play against the Steelers.

But with a full week of preparation as the first-team quarterback, McCown feels ready to take on the Giants.

“It will be beneficial for Sunday,” McCown said. “The No. 1 thing is you get the timing. You can go and get the timing and have that with your guys, but it is against the looks on defense that you are going to be facing. That is where the value is, and so, I am looking forward to that this week.”

The veteran-laden Steelers showed their physical superiority over the much younger Browns and registered eight sacks in the lopsided win. Both Kessler and McCown absorbed the punishment of four sacks each.

Six players registered sacks against the Browns, led by the 2.5 from Stephon Tuitt, and Pittsburgh’s top two tacklers, Ryan Shazier and Lawrence Timmons, each had a sack. Shazier added a forced fumble that was recovered by nose tackle Javon Hargrave in the end zone for a touchdown.

Prior to the win over the Browns, the Steelers had just 13 sacks on the entire season.

Following the loss, several Browns expressed frustrations for the Browns’ lack of protection at the line of scrimmage, but to McCown, Coach Hue Jackson has done a good job of holding the locker room together despite the team’s 0-11 record.

“We are all frustrated at this point, but it never takes a bad turn,” McCown said. “It is kind of frustration that turns into motivation to get it right. He is doing a great job of leading us in that regard. Obviously, how much we can improve across the board on things with the type of offense that we want to be, I know we have to do everything better.

“It is on us as players to grind and to do some little things different,  maybe to study a little more, to watch more tape, whatever it takes to continue to build your process. That is going to get us over the hump and allow us to win football games.”


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