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2020 NFL Draft

Josh McCown taking 'command' as Browns install offense

John DeFilippo didn't want to see a new version of Josh McCown.

Since the veteran quarterback joined the Browns two months ago, the first-year offensive coordinator has gotten exactly what he wanted.

DeFilippo's memories of working with McCown in Oakland in 2007 were warm enough to know he wanted him as the veteran presence in the Browns quarterback room. What DeFilippo's seen from from the 35-year-old veteran through the first four weeks of offseason workouts has not only confirmed what he knew about McCown, but also impressed him by how quickly he's been able to embrace a leadership role.

"He's the exact same person, the exact same player," DeFilippo said. "He seems like he hasn't aged a bit in terms of his arm strength or his athleticism. Josh has been the total guy we thought he would be.

"He's taken command of this offense and he's taken command of the room. The guys respect him."

Browns coach Mike Pettine said McCown's experience -- 12 seasons, 49 career starts -- was the main reason why he'll likely enter training camp as the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart. Johnny Manziel, Connor Shaw and Thad Lewis have alternated repetitions throughout offseason workouts and a rotation behind McCown will be settled upon over the next couple of months, Pettine said.

At this stage of the offseason, Pettine is reluctant to name starters at any position because months of competition remain on the horizon. Quarterback is not among the exceptions.

"I'm not going to commit to a starter for Game 1, but I'm just saying you have to put somebody out there first (for workouts)," Pettine said. "It's going to be Josh."

McCown's actions so far have similarly verified everything Pettine expected from the veteran, making the decision to give McCown the first repetitions at workouts a comfortable one.

"Obviously, we were comfortable here because we brought him here and signed him," Pettine said. "We're going to see more of the Josh McCown from Chicago than we did from the Josh McCown in Tampa."

Even with a player he knows such as McCown, DeFilippo is in the early stages of figuring out what his offensive players do best. He joked the Browns are currently going against "barrels" at the moment, and the offense won't be able to practice 11-on-11 until later this month.

What DeFilippo knows is the Browns' offense will be similar in terms of how the team ran the ball in 2014 with Terrance West, Isaiah Crowell and now Duke Johnson while the passing game and pass protections are going to be modified.

DeFilippo's confidence in the potential of the Browns running game goes hand in hand with how he feels about McCown.

"I don't think he's ever been at a place where we feel as confident taking some of the pressure off him during a game in terms of running the football," DeFilippo said. "I don't want to speak for Josh, you can ask him that, but that's the striking, glaring thing that's going to be there for Josh.

"He's done some good things on tape so far, and we're pleased with Josh's progress."

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