The Browns plan to add quarterback Matt Blanchard to their practice squad, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, as the team points toward starting Johnny Manziel at quarterback in Sunday’s game vs. the Titans.
The Blanchard addition is necessary because starting quarterback Josh McCown suffered a concussion on the Browns’ first drive in the season opener and is in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Though McCown was in the Browns’ building Monday and watching film with the other quarterbacks, Browns coach Mike Pettine said the team will proceed as if Manziel is going to start Sunday while awaiting word on McCown’s status later in the week.
Adding Blanchard Tuesday gives the Browns a chance to get him in the building on the traditional players’ day off and ready to run the scout team in Wednesday’s practice. Based on what Pettine said Monday, McCown will miss at least Wednesday’s practice and possibly more, meaning the Browns will get Manziel ready to start and get Austin Davis, who’s been with the team for just over a week, ready to be the backup.
When McCown got hurt last week against the Jets, Manziel was pressed into duty for the first time since the second preseason game; he missed the final two with a sore elbow. Davis was inactive for the game, meaning the Browns would have had to play wide receiver Brian Hartline at quarterback had Manziel been injured.
Manziel started two games last year. He threw his first career touchdown pass last week on the first drive after replacing McCown.
Blanchard, 26, played collegiately at Div. III power Wisconsin-Whitewater and has spent preseasons with the Packers, Bears and Panthers.