Training Camp

Mike Pettine confident Browns QB Josh McCown will bounce back

Mike Pettine didn't need to watch the film to know his veteran starting quarterback regretted a few of his decisions in Thursday's loss to the Buffalo.

Josh McCown said as much, repeatedly, in his post-game press conference, as he lamented the two interceptions he threw in the first half of the Browns' 11-10 loss to the Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium.

"Not good, not good," McCown said. "Two turnovers, felt like other than that, other than those two plays, threw the ball well and did the things I wanted to do with the football but those two plays. Can't have turnovers."

Pettine confirmed as much when he met with reporters on a Friday afternoon teleconference. McCown was effective at times against a nasty Buffalo defense, particularly on his third and final drive, which ended with a Travis Coons field goal. Some of his better throws of the night were on third down, such as his third-and-long completion to tight end Rob Housler and his 8-yard hookup with Brian Hartline on a third-and-6, but so, too, were both of his interceptions.

The first interception was a good throw that carromed off the hands of tight end Gary Barnidge, who was double-teamed. The second was a heave off his back foot that sailed over the head of Andrew Hawkins. Both were snagged out of the air by rookie cornerback Ronald Darby.

"I thought he did some good things, had good command," Pettine said. "We're in a results business and unfortunately he had the one tipped interception, which was unfortunate. The other one was a ball that he clearly forced.

"That's a lesson that we'd rather learn in the preseason than in the regular season."

Pettine added that McCown didn't seem as settled in the pocket as he was the previous week, when he completed all five of his pass attempts and led the Browns to a touchdown on his only series of action. The 36-year-old veteran was under constant duress from Buffalo's vaunted defensive line and, on top of the interceptions, took three sacks during his 7-of-10, 57-yard night.

That he threw the interceptions on third down appeared to bother McCown the most. He repeatedly mentioned punter Andy Lee, who has dropped most of his punts inside the 20-yard line, as a weapon he eliminated from the Browns' arsenal because of his interceptions.

"Obviously, not the standard I want to play at, but inevitably in this game, there is adversity and you're going to have things that happen, mistakes," McCown said. "I thought as a group we responded well, got down there and got three points so that was good, but certainly not the standard of where we want to be."

Post-game X-Rays on a finger on McCown's throwing hand checked out fine, Pettine said, and the veteran won't miss any practice time. He's expected to play "upwards of a half" in Cleveland's third preseason game at Tampa Bay.

Pressed to name a starter for the Browns' regular season opener, Pettine stuck to what he's said since the start of training camp. McCown remains Cleveland's No. 1 option and Johnny Manziel is the backup, but that sort of announcement won't come until shortly before the Sept. 13 trip to New York to face the Jets.

"Those meetings are all down the road, but we feel good where Johnny is at the No. 2, and we feel good about where Josh is at the No. 1 and understand that a large part of this is the supporting cast thing," Pettine said. "But again, our thoughts on the quarterback picture are the same this morning as they were going into last night."

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