With his 14 years of NFL experience, Josh McCown has seen just about every situation as a quarterback who has started and served as a backup off and on throughout his career.
It's why there's a sense of confidence among Browns coaches and players about how the offense will produce with the veteran at the helm in the wake of Robert Griffin III's significant shoulder injury.
"We are probably in the best situation of any team to be able to handle the backup quarterback coming in and being the starter for a significant amount of time," veteran offensive lineman Joe Thomas said. "You can see in preseason how badly other teams wanted Josh because of the trade rumors because of his experience as a starter. You do not find guys like that on very many rosters."
ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with McCown as he prepared for his first start of the 2016 season.
CB.com: Obviously not the circumstances you wanted, but what's it been like to take over as starter and get in the swing of things this week?
McCown: It's been a solid week of work. The transition was obviously swift because coming on the flight Sunday night from Philly, I kind of had a feeling something was up. I sit next to Robert on the plane, so I kind of had an idea something might be up. Got my mind right on Monday and figured something was coming. Then when they got the results back, it was go time. From then on, the preparation is not a whole lot different other than taking reps. I feel like we put in a good plan together, a good week of work and I feel good about where we're at.
CB.com: Do you address the team or act differently in a situation like this?
McCown: Obviously when you're the guy, you do take on a more vocal role. You just be yourself. Whoever you are, when a backup steps into the starter, you have to behave like that. Whoever you are as a starter, be that guy. For me, it's no different than the way I approached guys last year. Obviously with a young team, you want to continue to not only encourage, but lead and demand accountability from these guys. There's one way we want to do things, the way coach (Hue) Jackson is trying to do things around here. For us and for me personally, that's part of what I want to bring along with these young guys, so that will probably be the biggest change.
CB.com: How've you been able to acclimate yourself with so many new receivers?
McCown: It's been great. Obviously watching them throughout the preseason and last week making plays, it gets you excited as a quarterback when you get a chance to play with these guys. This week of work has been good. We pulled each other on the side and got some throws in during different drills just to get some better timing. For the most part, those guys know where they're supposed to be and when they're supposed to be there. That's all you can ask for as a quarterback. You're able to throw to spots and put the ball in places as long as you can trust them. They've showed that over the course of camp and Week 1 and we hope to continue that.
CB.com: How different is the offense you're running now compared to last year?
McCown: Everybody's different and there's some similarities for sure, there's some carryover. Coach Jackson has his own spin. You see the exotic formations and different things we do to stress defenses. That's been fun to get to learn that part of his football and what it does for our offense and how it creates mismatches and things like that. Those are some of the differences but I've always said everybody does similar things, but it's how you teach it and it's the way you go about it. That's the difference-maker. Us as players are fortunate to have Pep Hamilton and Hue Jackson and Kirby Wilson on staff that are fantastic coaches and teachers. They are, in my opinion, guys who can make differences as far as how they teach an offense.
CB.com: Jackson mentioned Wednesday the team crumpled up a piece of paper and threw it in the air to symbolize moving on to this week's game. How did that go over with the team?
McCown: You throw that one away and you move on. It wasn't what you wanted it to be. We have to shift our focus and move on to Baltimore. It's a division game and we know how important division games are and it's the home opener. You have so much value in this game. I think it was important not only for the younger guys but for all of us to know in this business, win or lose, you have to move on to next week and you can't drag it in. You can't drag the previous week's result into this week or it will affect the next game. We want to create that process now for the young guys and for ourselves because obviously we plan to be successful and that goes both ways. Even when you're successful, you can't drag that into next week because you'll get complacent and we want to be a consistent football team that plays week in and week out the same way. You can only do that by moving on. I think it was a great exercise for us.
CB.com: What memory stands out the most from last year's win at Baltimore?
McCown: Golly. It's hard not to say Gary (Barnidge's) catch. For me, how every guy touched the ball, everybody was involved. That's always fun. When you as a quarterback can get everyone involved and everyone makes a difference in the game with how they impact the game. All the guys making plays, that made it fun. Down the stretch closing it out and getting into field goal range and kicking it to win, that's a great feeling.
CB.com: What's the Ravens defense like now that they've got some veterans healthy and back on the field?
McCown: They are more tied together. When you have experience and guys that have played the defense, it certainly helps. You can see that on the tape against Buffalo and throughout the preseason. We know that it's a different group and obviously we think they'll be in good position to make plays. That's one thing, when you have a tight group that's experienced, they're never really out of position. They're where they're supposed to be. For us, it's going and matching their experience with our execution. We know we'll have our hands full, they're a good defense, but we're looking forward to the challenge.