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Josh McCown press conference - 11/16


QB Josh McCown:**

On how he is feeling physically:

"I'm doing better. Yeah, I am feeling better. Every day, as I have said before, is gradual improvement."

On how close he was to being able to play against the Steelers:

"It was close. It was close. Obviously, the doctors have to take everything into consideration and help you make the best decision that we can as a group and as a team. They thought it best to wait this one out so we move forward."

On if it was the right decision to take more time to rest and heal:

"It is over with now so I guess it doesn't really matter. Sitting here right now, it is no different. I still wanted to play. I wish I would have played and all those things. It was the best decision to wait and heal. Obviously, when you don't win the ball game, you wish you could have affected the game, but I thought (QB) Johnny (Manziel) did a heck of a job. I wish I could have been there, but we are past that and moving on now."

On Manziel's performance:

"I thought he did a really good job. I am very proud of him. It is a credit to (quarterbacks coach) Kevin O'Connell and how he handles our room and the way we go about it every day with our preparation and then to Johnny himself for putting the time in. For everything that was put into the gameplan and that we ask the quarterback to do, I thought he handled himself very well. He did a lot of really good things."

On if he has heard who will start at QB and his reaction if Manziel is selected:

"I have not heard anything, and the same line that I have said since I got here: When that day comes, then Johnny will be playing and I won't; I will support and help him get ready just like I did this week and do everything I can to help him to play the best ball he can to help us win football games. That is the way I view it – any player on a team, you do everything you can to help the team win and to serve the team in your role. If you are the starting quarterback, you go out there and play the best ball you can. If you are the backup quarterback, you help that guy get ready to go and help him play the best ball he can so that the team can win. It is about the team. That will be their decision, and we will adjust accordingly and move forward doing everything we can to make that quarterback room as productive as possible and get us back on [track]. When you lose this many games in a row and things go this way, you just want to find a win. I don't care who does it. I just want our team to win. It is about our team."

On what Manziel improved yesterday since the Cincinnati game:

"He stayed in the pocket. He did the things that he needs to do to continue to grow and play the position. The first third down was nice – the one he moved to get to Trav (WR Travis Benjamin) for the long gain. My favorite one was the one where he hung in there and ripped that ball in there to (WR Brian) Hartline on a big third-and-long. For me, that is what you are looking for in an NFL quarterback, a guy who can stand in there on third-and-long and make those throws. All the other stuff, obviously, it came out yesterday throughout the course of the game. He makes a play where he almost scores. That is stuff you can't coach. That is stuff that as it plays out like it did yesterday, it is going to bode well for him throughout his career if he can allow it to happen like that. For him to be effective from the pocket first – you just look at it and look at our league, and the guys that are successful, they are successful from the pocket – I was proud of him because he was so effective from the pocket. Then when all the other stuff happens, it is icing on the cake. Yesterday, I thought he captured that and had a great balance of those things. I think that is why he was so effective."

On how hard it is for Manziel to learn an NFL scheme after playing in a spread offense in college:

"It is very hard. In this day and age, we don't give quarterbacks or anybody a lot of time to grow. I think patience is the key, but it is a hard thing because their game in college is a little bit different than what we are doing in the pros. A lot of the things that they are having to learn and having to see, they are having to see it for the first time. It is just different. Everything that has been given to him as far as gameplans and what we are asking the quarterbacks to do, he has done a good job with and handled himself very well and yesterday. Each snap is a chance for him to get better and better and keep moving in the right direction. I think he did that yesterday."

On how Wildcat plays can be effective play calls:

"Obviously, first of all, to talk about the Wildcat and get into all that, I don't want to get into offensive philosophies about why we do things, but I'll say this: obviously, it's been effective before so it's not like you can just look at it and go, 'It just is ineffective'. Other teams, you see it on tape, other people use it. They sprinkle it in just like we have, and it's been effective. It's part of something that you do, especially when you're trying to get the run game going and want to give us a spark. That's the thought process behind it. It's just an another opportunity to get other guys in the backfield, added blockers and chance to get your run game going. It's just a wrinkle. Obviously, not what we hang our hat on. I don't think it's fair to say it's completely ineffective because we've seen it around the league be effective before."

On if it crossed his mind yesterday that he might not start again, given Manziel's performance:

"It just depends. My mindset is always be ready to go. I was just pleased with how he was playing. I've been in a bunch of different quarterback rooms in this league and I just root for the guys in that room. You want that room to do well because you know it can help our team. That was all. I was just really excited for him and the way he was playing more than anything. Like I said, if that's the case, that's the case, and we'll move forward accordingly. Like I said, just from a philosophical standpoint, you pick somebody in the first round and they start to play and start to do some good things, I understand it if that's the decision. We'll see what happens moving forward, but regardless, the point for us is to continue to grow and get better in that quarterback room and do everything we can to win this next football game."

On Manziel's psyche and dealing with noise outside the building:

"The first thing you have to do is block out all of those voices you just talked about because none of those voices matter as far as he grows as a player. That's what every quarterback will tell you in every room across the league is that you can only control the things that you can control and you have to focus on doing your job and growing and getting better and not worry about somebody outside of that room or that building saying, 'You need to do this and you need to do that.' Unless you sit in those rooms and you understand the intent behind every play and where that guy is supposed to go with the ball, you can't make a judgement. It's not fair. There are guys that I see that play the position on TV that they make a comment about something going on and you're going, 'You know what? You don't know the intent of the play.' Maybe he was asked not to look there and you think he should look there. First and foremost, that's the key is block out all the outside noise and just move forward and progress and get better. To get back to your question, what does he need to do? He needs to do what he did yesterday – play from the pocket, make the right reads, when the opportunity to make plays with his feet presents itself, go do that. That's what's going to continue to complete balls, high completion percentage, all those things. I think that's what's going to help him become a productive quarterback. It's still so early for him. It's just understanding the bigger scope and picture of things. It's just one day at a time, coming in one play at a time and trying to get better on that play. What do I have to do on this play? Get better on that play and then do the next one and not get caught up in where he should be progressing and all those things. If you start to look at that or listen to outside voices, it will start to cloud your vision and then the simplest things become hard because you've let other things get into your mind. You just have to block it all out and continue to play one play at a time."

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