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Why the Browns added a 4th quarterback

The uncertainty of Josh McCown's status for Sunday coupled with the mindfulness of Johnny Manziel's sore elbow prompted the signing of Matt Blanchard, Browns coach Mike Pettine said Wednesday.

Blanchard, who has bounced between a few teams since he entered the NFL in 2012, was signed to the practice squad Tuesday. He's the fourth quarterback in the Cleveland Browns' facility, joining McCown, Manziel and the recently acquired Austin Davis.

Manziel will get most of the work with the first-team offense at today's and Thursday's practice while Davis will be "mixed in," Pettine said. The earliest McCown, who is in the league's concussion protocol, could return to practice is Friday, Pettine said.

"Now you are looking at only having two quarterbacks and with us wanting to be prudent with Johnny and not wanting to overload him," Pettine said before Wednesday's practice. "Unless we wanted to put (quarterbacks coach) Kevin O'Connell out there to take some reps we wanted to bring another guy in. The circumstances dictated that we wanted to get another arm in here. He was a guy that was on our list we want to take a peek at."

Asked if McCown would play Sunday if he practiced Friday, Pettine said, "we'll be prepared either way."

Last month, when he fielded questions about the makeup of the Browns' 53-man roster, Pettine said he prefers to have three quarterbacks "on campus" between the active roster and practice squad.

Davis was added to the roster Sept. 7 and has spent his days and nights engrossed in the Browns' playbook. The former Rams quarterback who started eight games last season said the plays are similar to what he executed in St. Louis but the terminology differs.

Pettine said Davis has a "very high" football IQ and a determined work ethic.

"I think he gets the ball out quick, pretty good athlete," Pettine said. "To me, he's played. I know it wasn't under ideal circumstances but he won three games as a starter and played some football so he does have some true real game experience."

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