Austin Davis has been here before, thrust into a starting role one week after making an unexpected appearance in relief of an injured player ahead of him on the depth chart.
Still, one year after filling this kind of role with the Rams, there's something unique to a first start on the team you currently call home.
That's what Davis faces Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium. ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with him after his final day of practice leading up to the game.
CB.com: After months behind the scenes as a backup, this has been a different week for you as the starter, yes?
Davis: I think it's been good just to get the reps, be in the huddle, communicate, do all the things you don't get to do when you're not the starter. I think it will help in my preparation for this week. I'm very excited.
CB.com: Looking back on when you first arrived here in September, what's the biggest difference between now and then?
Davis: The first week, it was kind of a crash course to learn the big picture scope of the offense. As we've gone week to week, I've been able to get more detailed and really nail down some things that are important to be successful. Very good that this is later in the season and I've had a couple of weeks to figure out what we're doing. I think that will help.
CB.com: When would you have felt fully prepared to start for this team?
Davis: I think that's hard to say. You just try to learn as fast as you can. I guess the earlier it would have been, I would have had to reduce the call sheet and those types of things. At this point, I feel pretty comfortable with what we're doing and make the most of it.
CB.com: A lot of late nights in the facility?
Davis: There were some late nights for sure but that's part of being a quarterback no matter what.
CB.com: How much do the eight starts you've made in the past affect your comfort level for Sunday?
Davis: I think the only way to be successful in a backup situation kind of like this is to draw from experience. Without that last year, it'd be much more difficult. The things I was able to do last year and just to play, get the experience was important. I think that will help now.
Austin Davis is set to start at quarterback against the Bengals on Sunday. Take a look at his time so far in Cleveland.
CB.com: When during that period last year did you realize you could do this for a long time?
Davis: Well, I enjoy it. I don't know. I think everyone dreams of being an NFL quarterback and trying to do that. Just a matter of working hard and looking for my opportunity and try to make the most of it when it comes and just hoping you're good enough. Once you get out there and play and realize, 'hey, I can do this,' then you just keep going and building off that.
CB.com: What was your key to finding success when you entered the game Monday?
Davis: A couple of deep breaths. To be honest, just relax and take it one play at a time and slow yourself down. That's the hard part is just to not get anxious. You get narrow vision and can't focus what you need to focus on. Just relax and execute the plays that are called. Pretty simple.
CB.com: At what point did you feel settled?
Davis: I felt pretty good on the second drive. The first play was difficult in every way, a third-and-long is always hard to be the first play ever in this offense in a live situation and all those things. There's really no excuses. You've got to be prepared and ready and that's how I approached it. After a couple of plays, we kind of got going and I felt pretty good.
CB.com: How's the culture of the quarterback room helped not just you, but everyone who's played the position this season?
Davis: I think it's been really positive. I think it starts with talking to Kevin (O'Connell) and how he runs the room and how he treats us. Then Josh (McCown) does the same thing. It's a learning and teaching environment where we're all just trying to get better and we're all in different places in our careers. Obviously, Josh played for a long time, Johnny (Manziel) and I are both very young and Kevin's a first-year coach. We're all learning and trying to get better, so sometimes we'll just have philosophical football discussions and those are really, really helpful. I think we're all in it together and we want the room to play well and that's what's important.
CB.com: What's the reaction been like back home since you were named the starter?
Davis: Everyone's excited, as you could expect. It's always fun to watch someone play that you know. I think they'll all be tuned in and hopefully we'll give them something to watch.
CB.com: Assess what you're facing Sunday with Cincinnati, which has the NFL's best scoring defense.
Davis: Yeah, they're very good. You get your first start on a new team, why not play the best defense in the league, right? Just go out there and cut it loose and have fun and that's how I'm going to approach it. There's a lot of stress and a lot of pressure that can come with this position but at the end of the day not many people get to do this, so I just want to go out and enjoy it and have fun.
CB.com: How have your teammates embraced you since you were named the starter?
Davis: I think we have a great locker room. I think if anything they've just shown a lot of respect for all the work I've put in. Hopefully that leads to success. It certainly doesn't guarantee success. It's been awesome and they've helped a ton. They've helped slow things down for me. There's times still in practice when they're telling me stuff we do that maybe I haven't done yet. It's a different experience but it's a fun one.