Good news Browns fans, another quarterback competition is almost over.
Even though it feels like it was decided before it began, head coach Hue Jackson indicated following Tuesday’s camp practice that he is close to wrapping the competition up.
“No, I haven’t [decided], but we’re getting close,” Jackson said when asked for an update on the competition. “I know you guys want to know. You guys will be the first to know, I promise you that.”
To Jackson’s credit, this year’s competition has not been the 3-ring circus that so many others have been over the years and he is sticking to his original plan of naming a starter before next Friday’s preseason opener at Green Bay. While Robert Griffin III has appeared to be the favorite for the job since the moment he signed his 2-year, $15 million contract, Jackson has wanted him to earn the job.
To Griffin’s credit, he’s not focusing on it either.
“There’s no eagerness to it,” Griffin said. “You come out every day with the same mindset to get better, continue to prove yourself out here on the field every day and that’s all you can control. You can’t control when coach makes a decision, how he makes a decision. One thing we all know is we’re all going to have each other’s back. So no matter what happens we’re all going to be there for each other, we’re all going to have each other’s back and we’re all Cleveland Browns. So we’re all here to do one job, and that’s win.”
Josh McCown has been the most consistent through the offseason and into the early stages of camp but Griffin continues to show improvement daily and that upswing will likely be what Jackson points to as to why he won the job. As for McCown’s future, Jackson made no promises that he’ll even make the team despite his professionalism and leadership within the QB room.
In fact, Jackson’s response when asked was downright ominous.
“In my honest opinion, that has nothing to do with him remaining on the team,” Jackson said. “That’ll be an organizational decision about all of our quarterbacks. At the same time, Josh McCown is very important to me. Just because here’s a guy with a lot of skins on the wall. He’s done a lot of great things in this league and understands it. I think we know how all of this goes. This is not just about who you like. It’s about what’s best for our organization.
“He’s done a tremendous job and what a good football player. I’m really grateful to have him here and be around him. I think all of the quarterbacks are, too, because he’s been outstanding.”
Dinged Up – Center Cameron Erving sustained a minor injury to his left elbow during an 11-on-11 goal-line drill Tuesday but Jackson doesn’t think the injury is serious enough to worry about since the second-year lineman never left the field.
“He’ll be fine,” Jackson said. “I think he just got, I’ll call it a ding. I don’t think anything serious, but obviously, we’ll check it out and see where he is. I think he’ll be fine. He’s really important to what we’ve been doing on offense.”
Erving is expected to fill the shoes vacated by 2-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack who opted out of his contract and signed with the Atlanta Falcons this offseason.
“He’s been doing outstanding,” Jackson said. “I’ve been very, very impressed with Cam. We have a group up front led by Joe [Thomas] that’s starting to really grow and start to have an identity of what it takes to play in the National Football League. I think we’ll keep growing and keep pushing. They’ll follow the lead of Joe and Joel Bitonio and Cam. We have a chance to be a good offensive line.”
Still Up For Grabs – Alvin Baily has been receiving the first-team reps at right tackle but he’s still not secured the starting job according to Jackson. Rookie Shon Coleman, who is returning from a torn MCL
Heat And Hammys – Receiver Andrew Hawkins will likely miss a few days after going down with a hamstring injury late in Tuesday’s practice.
“Yeah, these hamstrings this time of year. It’s unfortunate, but I think he’ll be OK,” Jackson said. “I don’t know how bad it is, but it is a hamstring. We’ll handle that accordingly and get him back out there as soon as we can.”
Up Next – Practice Thursday afternoon at 3:25-5:55 p.m.