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Browns to prepare as if Johnny Manziel will start vs. Titans

When practice resumes Wednesday, the Browns will plan as if Johnny Manziel will be their starting quarterback Sunday in the team's home opener at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Browns coach Mike Pettine wasn't able to provide much of an update Monday on veteran Josh McCown, who is going through the league's concussion protocol after taking a hard hit near the end of Sunday's first quarter.

"In an ideal situation, Josh would be back at the end of the week but we have to plan otherwise, meaning he won't be available at least early for practice," Pettine said. "We will have to see how it plays out. Johnny will get, early in the week, the starting quarterback reps."

McCown was in the Browns facility Monday, as he attended meetings and watched film of the Browns' 31-10 loss to the New York Jets. He completed 5-of-8 passes for 49 yards and ran for 23 on a clock-draining, 17-play, 90-yard drive that ended when he was hit hard by two Jets and fumbled at the goal line.

McCown was diagnosed with a concussion by the midpoint of the second quarter. Manziel took his place and finished the game, completing 13-of-24 passes for 182 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also fumbled twice while rushing for a team-high 35 yards.

If McCown clears protocol before the end of the week, Pettine said he'd make a decision on the starter at that point in time.

Pettine said the game plan was not downsized when Manziel took the reins early in the second quarter. He got off to a fast start, as he overcame a holding call on third down by promptly connecting with Travis Benjamin on a 54-yard touchdown pass, the first of his career. It would ultimately be the high point, though, as the Jets tightened up and repeatedly forced Manziel out of the pocket and into some unsavory situations.

"I think there was an instance or two where I thought he could have stuck with the read and I think part of it was he saw a gain in front of him and went ahead and took it," Pettine said. "There were a couple where I thought they were text book. He got positive yardage and slid down and we were ready for the next play. There was the one for sure where he took the real big hit on was not necessary, especially in light of Josh was already down for the game."

Pettine, who was critical of some of McCown's scrambling decisions during the preseason, did not second-guess the veteran's decision to dive for the end zone and, subsequently, take such a hard hit.

"How do you tell him different? Had that been at the 10-yard line or midfield, more than likely he probably would have slid," Pettine said. "We're that close to the end zone. If he had held onto the ball, helicoptered in and we had won the game, we're carrying him off the field -- in the good way."

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