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Browns training camp position breakdown: QBs

Yes, the start of Browns training camp is close enough for us to start a series like this.

Over the next two weeks, we'll dive deep into each position group and analyze what we'll be looking for when practice resumes July 30. In appropriate fashion, we're starting at the top with a position that never creates a shortage of headlines.


The cast

Josh McCown

Johnny Manziel

Connor Shaw

Thaddeus Lewis

What happened at OTAs?: McCown embraced his fresh start in the best possible way, as he established himself not just as a leader within the walls of the Browns quarterbacks room, but the locker room as a whole. From Day 1 of offseason workouts, McCown worked with the first-team offense and proved effective in the new looks installed by first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. Manziel, who drew praise from his teammates for an improved mindset and maturity, worked almost exclusively with the second-team offense and experienced the expected highs and lows that come with working under a fourth different offensive coordinator in as many seasons. Browns coach Mike Pettine and DeFilippo both endorsed McCown as the quarterback likeliest to start Game 1, eliminating the distraction of a wide-open quarterback competition that has consumed training camp in years past.

Under the radar: Though Shaw finished the season as the Browns' starter against Baltimore, he primarily was used as the third quarterback during OTAs. That's not an indictment on Shaw, who is beloved by Browns players and drew plenty of praise from coaches after his gutsy effort against the Ravens. When asked who "played like a Brown" most in 2014, many Browns players identified Shaw. There's still time for Shaw to make an impact and create some tough decisions for Cleveland's offensive coaches. He's a valuable player to have in the locker room, whether he's playing or not.

Variables to consider: What Manziel can do with his feet is difficult to simulate on the practice field, especially when the players aren't wearing pads, so preseason games will be vital for him if he hopes to surpass McCown on the depth chart. How much he progresses with his grasp of DeFilippo's offense will also be a major factor. Shaw is still eligible to be placed on the practice squad, but would the Browns be able to keep him there and out of the hands of another team?

Quote to note: "I've been very, very impressed with Josh. Josh and I talk about it all the time: He's a better quarterback now than he was in 2007. 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. That comes with time. He's played a lot of football. I've been very, very pleased with Josh. Obviously, the intangibles with Josh are as good as any quarterback in the league in terms of his leadership, in terms of being a good person. All of those things that you're looking for in a starting quarterback, Josh McCown has." -- DeFilippo

How many were kept last year?: Two on the 53-man roster and one on the practice squad.

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