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Keys to Victory: What we're watching against the New York Jets

The Browns host New York on Sunday afternoon in search of their first win of the season.

Here's four things we're watching against the Jets:

1. McCown returns

Josh McCown will return to action after missing the past five weeks because of an injured shoulder/collarbone. The veteran will start Sunday against the Jets, offering the shorthanded Browns a boost while fellow quarterback Cody Kessler is still in the league's concussion protocol.

"I've said it before you want to be in this thing to play on Sundays," McCown said, "so it's really good to be out there, it's exciting. I'm looking forward to battling with the guys."

McCown, who played through injury Week 2 against Baltimore, has passed for 260 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

McCown was medically cleared to play earlier this week and returned to practice in limited fashion two weeks ago.

2. Establishing the run

This will be easier said than done against a Jets defense that ranks second against the run, giving up less than 75 yards a game. Browns running backs coach and run game coordinator Kirby Wilson playfully outlined his uneasiness when it comes to facing New York.

"They're so good, at times, it appears they're playing with 15 players," Wilson said, laughing. "And after watching film Monday, I went home depressed. How are we going to block and get yards versus this defense?"

But Cleveland won't back down from that challenge. While the run game is still trying to return to the form it showed in September, the Browns seemed to get a bit back on track last week in a loss to the Bengals behind Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr.

"That's the competitor in all of us as coaches and players is you really look forward to challenges like this every week," Wilson said. "And in this league, it's hard to run the football versus anyone, let alone a defense that is so stocked and loaded with talent and fast and tough players. It's one of those, you look at it and you're depressed for about an hour, and then you roll up your sleeves and say, 'OK we're going to figure out some things and take advantage of some of the weaknesses you do see.'"

3. Creating turnovers

After a "disappointing" effort last week against the Bengals, defensive coordinator Ray Horton said the Browns have to focus on fundamentals and producing more "big plays" moving forward.

"As you look around the league, no matter how you look at it, whether it is ESPN, on the Red Zone or the highlights Sunday night, however they show those highlights it is always big plays, meaning big plays for somebody, whether it is a defensive big play or an offensive big play," he said.

"We just need to settle down and produce more big plays and really just play fundamentally sound football. It is no secret to what you are doing and nothing has changed for years. It is just basic fundamental football and then producing big plays."

After surrendering 559 yards to Cincinnati, Cleveland faces a Jets offense that is ranked 23rd in the league.

"We just play who we play. We have to play better. That is the thing that we have been trying to stress to our team," Horton said.

"It doesn't matter who comes in here and where we go on the road to play. We have to take care of the Cleveland Browns, and the rest will take care of itself. Until we can take care of ourselves, it doesn't matter who lines up at quarterback for everybody."

4. 1986 team honored

In honor of its 30th anniversary, the Browns' 1986 team will be honored Sunday against the Jets. Among those in attendance will be Bernie Kosar, Hanford Dixon, Frank Minnifield, Earnest Byner, Clay Matthews, Bob Golic, Marty Schottenheimer and others.

Jackson on Thursday spoke of the impact that Schottenheimer, who gave him his first NFL job in 2011 with the Washington Redskins, had on his own career.

"Marty does not back down from anybody. He has a belief system. He believes in what he believes. He has won a lot of games, and he knows how to do it. He has shown that everywhere he has been. I have great respect for that," he said.

"I'm kind of like that myself. I kind of believe in what I believe because that is the way you were raised. You have to do those things that you trust and have strong passion about in order to get your team where it needs to be."

Schottenheimer led the Browns to four playoff appearances and two AFC Championship games. ​

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