5 things: Browns welcome back Josh McCown, attacking the Jets vaunted run defense

The Browns are in the process of wrapping up their preparations for Sunday's game against the Jets.

Here are five things to know from Friday:

1. McCown will start

Josh McCown will start at quarterback against the Jets, head coach Hue Jackson said on Friday.

McCown, who has missed the past five weeks because of shoulder/collarbone injury, will make his second start this season.

"I've said it before you want to be in this thing to play on Sundays," McCown said, "so it's really good to be out there, it's exciting. I'm looking forward to battling with the guys."

In his season debut against Baltimore, McCown passed for 260 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The veteran also played through injury in an effort to give the Browns a chance to win. [



"He just likes to play. Anytime you're a veteran player playing as long as he has you're excited to have an opportunity to go back out there with his teammates," Jackson said.

"The last time he played, obviously we had a great chance to win the game and then obviously he got hurt but he showed tremendous poise and toughness. Hopefully we'll protect him and give him a chance to lead this team."

McCown, who was medically cleared to play earlier this week, steps in as rookie quarterback Cody Kessler remains in the league's concussion protocol.

2. Settling down

After giving up almost 560 yards in last week's loss to the Bengals, defensive coordinator Ray Horton outlined what went wrong and how Cleveland needs to improve going forward.

"I was very disappointed in the way we performed down in Cincinnati," said Horton, who pointed to missed tackles and a lack of fundamentals as partial factors in Sunday's display.

"We have to just settle down and play defense. You have seen spurts, but we are not very consistent right now in playing good football. We have to be. It is Week 8, and our guys need to now go, 'I am a NFL player and this is what I do,' and not be on that rollercoaster of up and down. We are going to keep finding the players that play well, and when they play well, we are going to keep playing them. It does not matter who you are, where you came from and how you got here. If you perform well, you are going to get more and more opportunities to perform."

3. Run game facing big challenge

The Browns will have their work cut out for them against a ferocious Jets run defense that's giving up less than 75 yards a game.

"They're so good, at times, it appears they're playing with 15 players," running backs coach and run game coordinator Kirby Wilson said, laughing. "And after watching film Monday, I went home depressed. How are we going to block and get yards versus this defense?"

Cleveland, though, is up for the challenge.

"It's an awesome opportunity for us to come out and compete against a unit that's so highly thought of and so well-prepared," Wilson said, adding, "(we're) excited because they know this is one of the best defenses in the league, if not the best, so they're excited to find out what they can do versus this front."

4. Haden 'desperately' wants to play

After missing the past two games because of a groin injury, it's still unclear whether cornerback Joe Haden will be healthy enough to play this weekend.  But the two-time Pro Bowler is doing everything in his power to suit up.

"The medical staff will give us a report. I know he wants to play desperately. When his body will let him play, he will play," Horton said. "I know he wants to play. There is no question about that." 

Jackson said he "feels good" about Haden's chances of playing.

"I feel better about it this week than I did last week," he said.

Both Haden and fellow cornerback Jamar Taylor are listed as questionable for Sunday.

5. Two 'really good pros'

The acquisitions of new punter Britton Colquitt and kicker Cody Parkey have been welcomed ones this season. After trading Andy Lee to Carolina for a fourth-round draft pick and signing Parkey last month when Patrick Murray was placed on injured reserve, the pair of specialists have been solid thus far.

"Both of them are really good pros," special teams coordinator Chris Tabor said. "Colquitt is a guy who can move the football around, and he has some other kicks that he has developed. He actually broke out one of the kicks last week and did a really nice job with it, which helps our younger guys with going down and covering. That has been a plus.

"Cody continues to work at his craft and is doing a nice job when called upon. We feel fortunate there and still have a ways to go but expect those guys to play well on Sunday."​

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