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QB quotes: Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel - 9/23

QB Johnny Manziel:

On how he found out about the decision to start QB Josh McCown and how did he take it:

"I was just told this morning coming into meetings. I think I took it alright. It is obviously disappointing."

On based on how he played Sunday what does he think he accomplished:

"I think I put myself in a lot better position than I was last year. I went out and showed people that I have the ability to play at this level. I think I made improvements from where I was last year and that is what I have been continuing to try to tell everybody and really harped on throughout the course of the offseason and throughout training camp and first couple weeks of the season was just continue to get better, show progress. I think that was the thing that showed up on Sunday."

On if he was surprised with the decision to go back to McCown, given that he won on Sunday:

"No. You can look at it in a couple ways. You can also look at it as Josh was our starter. Josh got hurt. It is the job of the back-up to come in and fill that bridge until the starter gets back. There are a couple ways to look at it really. That is the way that I am looking at it right now. I did my job as a far as bridging the gaps in-between while Josh was out."

On if the hardest part of the decision not knowing when he could be out on the field again:

"No. I think it is part of it. You never know what could happen. It is a crazy season. It is a crazy league. I will be ready when that time comes, if it does."

On how he is doing since he looks disappointed:

"I am alright. Going through the day. Just got done lifting. Went to practice and everything. It is a little bit different not getting all the reps and everything. It is part of it. Obviously I'm not going to sit here and say I love the decision. I respect Coach Pett. That is the guy that makes the calls for this team. I am going to be a team player and do what I need to do from here and out and be ready if my number is called on Sunday, the next one or six, seven or eight weeks or whatever the case may be. I felt like I went out and did some good things. Like I said, I bridged the gap whenever I got my chance to go out there this week. That is what we needed. Our team needed a win. I was the next guy up. We got the win."

On what percentage of his total game have we seen:

"I think I missed some things the other day. I still want to go into a game situation like that and make all those throws. I don't want to be sitting here today and say I missed some opportunities. I still think there is a lot of room for me to progress, just my game in general."

On if he thinks the Browns organization still expects him to be the long-term starting QB one day:

"From everything that I have heard, I have been told, whether it was our GM or our owner – everything I have heard, that is still the case. That is probably better suited for those guys, but as far as I know, yes."

On how much of a leap was Sunday's performance against the Titans in regards to his career:

"It was a better start for my second year. I think that is what it was. Better in progress from where I was in the two times I got to go out on the field last year, which was huge."

On if he performs better knowing that he is the starting QB:

"In my situation there are going to be times where something like the Jets (game) could happen and I don't want to say I didn't get the week of practice (to prepare). That is no excuse. I need to be ready to go into a game like the New York week and try to come out and get a win like we did last week. That needs to be the bottom line. It can't be that I have to have a full week of practice or I have to have 'this'. When my number is called, whenever that could be, I need to be ready to go and make the plays that are needed."

On if he thinks this past game could be a stepping stone for him:

"Absolutely. I think it showed that I can make some of those throws. I am still continuing to grow as a player. I think that definitely showed on Sunday."

 

QB Josh McCown:

On how he is feeling:

"I'm feeling better. Thanks for asking (laughter). Feeling a lot better."

On if he thought he'd be able to play last week:

"It's a tough call. I was feeling good, but there's a reason why we take the baseline test. Being an older guy and being in the league before they had things like this in place, and now being a part of it and obviously having to take part in it last week, you understand why they do those things. It's because sometimes the testing will show things that maybe you don't necessarily, that our symptoms don't show. I'm thankful for that because it's a serious thing, concussions and head injuries and what our older players and retired players are dealing with so we don't take it lightly. Was there a huge part of me that wanted to just say 'Hey, let's go. Forget about the test and everything else. Let's do it.'? Yeah, but I think that's why they're in place is to prevent some of those things from happening. I was just trusting the process, trusting the testing and trusting the doctors and the protocol that the league's put in place. I think long-term, we'll be glad that we have those things. We won't know for a while, but I feel like as our game continues to grow and get better, I think that's one of the major reasons why it will continue to grow because we'll feel better about that area of our sport."

On if there was any doubt he would be named starting QB for Sunday:

"There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to come back prepared to play. Obviously, (Head) Coach (Mike) Pettine and the coaches, anytime you have a situation like that, obviously, with a young guy like Johnny, a guy that you picked in the first round, to go out and play the way he did, there's so many positives to draw from it. All I knew, for me, like I said since I got here is I'm going to prepare like I'm 'the guy' until told otherwise, we'll adjust but preparing to do whatever it takes to help our team win. That's my mindset. As a competitor, you always are ready to go and expect to be 'the guy' so that was my expectation going into this week."

On consoling QB Johnny Manziel:

"Absolutely. I've been there. I've been on both sides of this thing. I've been the guy in front with a first rounder waiting in the wings and people waiting on that guy to play and wanting that guy to play. Then, I've been in situations where I've been the guy everybody wants to play. You go to both sides of it where as a competitor, we wouldn't be in our situations – if he didn't want to play, he wouldn't be here. I appreciate that fact, we both do. Again, it's about him continuing to grow and all of us together doing our job in our room to play good football."

On if he can relate to Manziel's situation:

"Absolutely, yeah I think so. That's what I mean. You can relate to where you feel like you've got a good rhythm going, got some good thing going. As a competitor, you want to keep going, you want to keep playing. For he and I, like I said, we come together in our room and try to get better together and push one another. Coaches make their decisions that they're going to make that's in the best interest of our team and then we move forward. The best thing that I can say going through a half-week of preparation already is, the best compliment that I can give Johnny is that he was able to put that one behind him, and he came in Monday and Tuesday and we did all our normal process. I think that's the key for especially young guys is when you have some success, what does that success do to you? I just applaud him because he came back and was ready to roll and was working and doing everything to get ready for this week. That's our process. That's what he and I have to take care of because just like we found out in Week 1, he's one play away. He's got to be ready to go."

On if it was tough on him when the Bears went with Jay Cutler as starting QB:

"Yeah, absolutely. I said it back then, I understand the team aspect of where we were heading with Jay as an organization so I think it made it a little easier, softened it, but I still wanted to be out there. You still want to play because that's why we're in this thing is to play and be the guy out there. Exactly, you never take that lightly, but at the same time, there's a bigger picture working and he will continue to – like I said, he's done it all this week – grow and get better and develop. If anything, Sunday more than anything, it gets us more excited about where he's headed."

* *

On QB situations dividing fan bases:

"I said it when I came in here, these people are passionate. They love our team, and the list of quarterbacks, all that stuff is well documented. You have a young guy that comes in and plays well – I get it. I understand it. For me, you don't want it to be a distraction for everybody else, but at the same time, I understand where they're coming from. Like I said, there's so much to be excited about the way Johnny played Sunday and where he's headed. I understand it. That's part of it. I've gone through that before. You go out, and I think at the end of the day, we have all these different slogans and things about the Browns – 'We all bark together' and all of those things. I think at the end of the day, we go out and play winning football, everybody will be happy with that. That's the key for us is to go out and focus on beating the Oakland Raiders."

On if he regrets the decision to leap toward the end zone at New York:

"Looking back, yeah (laughter). I mean, obviously, anytime you look back and something doesn't go your way, you second guess it. Yeah, for sure I'm second guessing that, but would I do it again? I want to understand the situation a little bit better, but I can't guarantee just because in those moments – you guys understand where my career has been the last few years – I think part of why I'm still around is because I don't give up easily. For me, that was a hard one to open the way we did and come down the field the way we did, to finish that drive, and I just felt like we were right there to punch it in. Gave it my best effort to get in. That being said, understanding that situation and third-and-goal from the 14 or wherever we were, maybe handle it a little different, big picture wise. It's hard for me to ever apologize for that side of me because I feel like it's such a big part of what makes me, me. I don't know. Like I said, hindsight, yeah, absolutely, I don't want that to happen. I don't want to go out. We felt so good after that first drive, like we were really going to get after these guys. I really felt like I was in a good place. I'm super bummed about that, but we'll take myself through those situations and through the preseason all these things that I've taken hits and stuff like that but I try not to, it's not like I'm throwing caution to the wind just going out there. Every time, it's been to get a third down, to convert a third down. To me, it's different when it's under those circumstances, other than just running on first down for no reason and taking a hit. I'll obviously try to be more judicious, protect myself and help keep us in a good situation."

On being confident he can pick up where he left off of from the Jets game and a strong preseason:

"Very confident, very confident. I am confident in what I saw us do Sunday. As an offense, it was certainly some good things. Obviously, the big plays were there. We started to get the running game going a little more. I feel very confident in our abilities to do that and myself to go out there and do that, as well. That is what we have to have. That is what we say. Johnny and I and (QB) Austin (Davis) and the guys in the quarterback room, that is what we say. We have to go out there and play efficient and effective football and help our team move the ball, regardless of who is in there. That is my mindset for sure."

On keeping the streak going of hitting WR Travis Benjamin for deep touchdown passes:

"Yeah, I would love to keep that streak going. That was awesome. To see him make those plays, it just adds so much, another dimension to your offense when you have somebody that can take the top off of it and they have to respect that. It opens up so many more things. We are very fortunate to have Trav and some of the other guys that will hopefully take their turn, too. We feel like, as we have said all along, kind of an underrated group for us, but we felt really good about that position and what they can do. I think we are seeing some of that now."

On clarifying whether or not he would slide in similar situations to the Jets game in the future:

"It depends. Holistically, the first quarter and those things, it probably would have been better to slide. Looking back, it is very easy to make all these decisions. I am a way better quarterback Monday morning. If I am right there and the goal line is right there, I don't know. I would like to think we can learn from this one and maybe get down, but you don't know. I do know this: just with the protection that the league is giving players with the helmet-to-helmet stuff like that, you have to be careful because regardless of what happens, there is a chance that you could be out of the game because of a helmet-to-helmet. You just have to be careful with the amount of hits you take, period. That'll be my mindset."

On what it means for Pettine to say that McCown was the starter coming into camp and the start of the season and sticking with the plan:

"It means a lot that Coach Pett believes in me enough to put me back out there. I appreciate that. For all of those reasons, you want to go out and continue to play good football. I just appreciate where we are with the whole situation and how well the group has worked together. I think we understand that his decision is reflective of that and understanding what we are trying to get accomplished. It just gives me that much more energy for him to put his confidence in me."

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