Josh McCown spoke of how his family and faith motivates him as the Browns try and fight their way out of an 0-11 start to the season. And the veteran quarterback, who's set to start against the Giants this weekend, hopes that sentiment is a contagious one.
"I love playing this game, and a lot of those cool components of why you play certainly gets tested when you are going through a time like this because it makes it tough," McCown said Monday afternoon on a conference call.
"If what you said is true, then you continue to play hard. If whatever you determine is the reason why you play — whether it is for your faith or your family or maybe it is just for money or whatever a man indicates that this is why he does something — whenever you get tested, that really shows whether or not that decision that you made way back when, whether it was true or not."
Indeed, these times are tough for the Browns, and a 24-9 loss to the Steelers on Sunday afternoon — one that saw rookie quarterback Cody Kessler leave with a concussion — didn't help matters.
But McCown, who will start with Kessler in the league's concussion protocol, said he thinks the Browns can find strength through introspection.
"It's a difficult time, there's no doubt about it, but we will keep preparing and come out fighting because that is what it is about. It's about being in the fire right now and saying, 'What are my core values?' When you are in the fire, what's going to burn up and what is going to come out of that fire and be there?
"That's what my foundation is and that's what I'm about. That's, for me, playing through for my faith and my family and for this game and for the love of this game. That is what it is about. As hard as this time is, it doesn't change anything for me."
With that approach, McCown will try to offer a struggling offense a spark in his third start this season. Against the Steelers, he threw for 118 yards and a late 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Gary Barnidge that cut Pittsburgh's lead to eight points. But McCown, who was strip-sacked in the end zone after that series, took ownership of the offense a day that watched it give up eight sacks.
"Whenever the offense doesn't move or things happen, whether it is protection, turnovers or anything, it is incumbent upon that guy to say, 'What can I do to fix it?' That is my mindset," McCown said.
"If we feel like we are having protection issues, I take that personally. That is on me. What can I do to fix that? Turnovers, what can I do to fix that? Any of those things, I take it on me. To answer your question, we look at that, we will go look at how we prepared versus what happened in the game and I will certainly look at those things and shoulder that because that is how I feel. I feel like I could have helped us out. I feel like I could have made it better. If you are looking for someone to point the blame, just point it right here on me because those guys are fighting hard and they doing the right things. As a quarterback and in our room, we have to make it better."
McCown, who's had his share of highs and lows in three starts and four appearances this season, said he's eager to make that happen.
"I look forward to the week of work, I look forward to the opportunity to go out there and try to help us get our first win," he said.
"It is a tough, tough time for us. Especially for guys who have been in the league for a little while and in our locker room, it is frustrating, but at the end of the day, we are going to continue to reload, come back to work and fight hard to make it right and get it going. We owe it to the rest of the guys in the locker room, the coaches, the people in the organization and the city to get this thing turned around."