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Browns mailbag - What will the competition at QB look like at training camp?

The dog days of the offseason have arrived, but you wouldn't be able to tell from our inbox.

There are no shortage of pressing questions in this week's mailbag, and we don't expect there to be a slowdown anytime soon.

How realistic is it to expect Josh McCown to stay healthy, let alone play at a high enough level to consistently win in what appears to be a statistically tough schedule against dominant defenses? Is there any chance that Manziel comes into training camp and takes the job away, or is Pettine's mind set on McCown unless he sees Johnny Manziel play better than Johnny Unitas?

Thanks for your time. -- Andrew V., Pickerington

The answer to your first question starts up front. McCown missed five games in the middle of last season with the Buccaneers because of a broken thumb. Considering all of the hits he took behind one of the NFL's worst offensive lines, it's a wonder he didn't miss even more time. There's no bigger upgrade McCown will experience in Cleveland than what he has in his offensive line, which he labeled the best he's played behind throughout his lengthy NFL career. Needless to say, he'll be upright and throwing from the pocket far more here than he did in Tampa Bay. The less hits he takes, the less likely he is to be hurt. Simple as that.

On the second part of the McCown query, his performance throughout the offseason workout program was one of the top highlights on either side of the ball. Browns coach Mike Pettine singled him out as one of the team's top performers and he solidified his status as the No. 1 quarterback heading into training camp.

"He's a better quarterback now than he was in 2007," said offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who coached McCown with the Raiders. "I think he's much better. Again, I don't like to speak for the players, but I think he'll tell you the same thing. I haven't seen anything from an arm strength standpoint, from an athletic standpoint to tell me that his game has declined at all. He is much better in situational football, a much smarter quarterback than he was in 2007."

The Browns will play the quarterback that gives them the best chance to win. McCown has been that quarterback from the start of offseason workouts. Manziel has an opportunity to prove he's the No. 1 option at training camp, but this isn't the wide-open, split-the-reps-down-the-middle competition of a year ago.

Just read this morning that Central Ohio showed up! 60,000 signed up for the scrimmage at OSU Stadium. The Browns reside in Cleveland but they don't belong to Cleveland; they belong to Ohio and Browns fans worldwide. Now to my question, How many TE's do you think we'll keep and how have they looked so far? Will there be a drop off from the loss of Jordan Cameron?  -- Jerry D., Pickerington

The Browns used three tight ends throughout the majority of last season and occasionally had a fourth available. Most of the time, that fourth option was on the practice squad or unavailable on game days. It'd be hard to keep more or fewer than that total, especially with the way the Browns break up their responsibilities.

At "Y" tight end, which primarily focuses on blocking, the Browns have been using Jim Dray and Gary Barnidge, both of whom were on the active roster all throughout the 2014 season. Barnidge also has the ability to play at the "F" tight end, which is where Rob Housler has served as the main option. Sixth-round draft pick Randall Telfer is still recovering from a foot injury while undrafted free agent E.J. Bibbs had a very good spring and earned some unprompted praise from Pettine.

Intrigued by Rodney Smith. WR will be competitive. Do you think he will make the 53? -- Paul M. Windermere, Fla.

The Browns have been similarly intrigued with Smith since he signed with the team midway through last season. His size, in particular, stands out, and he's been with the team long enough to establish some comfort. That being said, the wide receivers room might be the most competitive on offense and there will be plenty of tough decisions to make. Smith's best shot is to impress enough to force the coaches to keep him as the fifth wide receiver.

Love the show. Do you think the Browns try to sign Russell Wilson if he can't reach a big boy $100 million contract with the Seahawks? Would the Browns pay him $100 million? Nathan and Matt, let's kick it when you come to Tampa for the preseason game! -- Anthony C., Fleming Island, Fla.

I don't see a scenario where Wilson hits the open market. He's just too valuable and the Seahawks aren't flush with options behind him. It's too big of a risk to let him walk.

I'll pass along the request to Nathan and Matt. If you connect with them, make sure they're buying.

We have new colors, new jerseys and new logos. Should we expect any changes to the field and the walls of the stadium? -- Jason B., Strongsville

You better believe it. The Browns' creative services team has been hard at work for months on some top-secret designs. And remember, FirstEnergy Stadium's concourse will be sparkling after all of the improvements it received from the Phase II renovations.

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