In a conference that features plenty of elite quarterbacks, a veteran who has kept plugging away from team to team and year to year has gotten the praise he deserves.
Browns quarterback Josh McCown is the AFC’s offensive player of the week.
He definitely earned it, with a franchise regular-season record 457 passing yards in a 33-30 overtime win at Baltimore. It also was the third straight 300-plus-yard performance for McCown, unprecedented in Browns franchise history.
McCown won a player of the week award only one before in his 13-year career, two years ago while replacing Jay Cutler in Chicago, on a Monday night against the Cowboys. (McCown’s ultimate reward that time was to be sent to the bench, since nothing helps a franchise quarterback heal faster than his backup out-performing him.)
The 457 yards came via passes distributed to nine different receivers, none of whom are superstars who are demanding the football.
“This group of guys they’re so fun to work with because they come out and they practice hard,” McCown told PFT Live on Monday. “If they catch one ball, great. . . . They’re just hungry, so I think for all of us collectively it just fits together and works well. There’s not one guy that you’re having to go babysit on the sideline like, ‘Hey we’re gonna get you some balls, we’re gonna get you some throws.’ All these guys, they’re in it all the time. They work hard, and I think that’s what makes this group special and it’s a fun group to be a part of.”
It’s hard to use the word “fun” too much, given the tough schedule the Browns have, with games against the teams of the AFC West, the NFC West, and six games against the Ravens, Steelers, and Bengals. McCown is undaunted by the challenge, which continues this week with a visit from the Broncos.
“The NFC West and the AFC West are probably arguably the two best divisions in football, so it’s a tough draw,” McCown said. “But at the same time we lace ’em up every week for a reason and you look at that schedule, you’re absolutely right [about its difficulty]. There’s a ton of good teams on that schedule, but at the same time our division has to play those teams too and more importantly you can’t win all those games at once. You just have to play them one at a time and a Denver Bronco team will be coming in here, you know Peyton Manning and that defense playing the way it is we’ll have our hands full.
“But at the same time we’ll be prepared, we’ll be ready to roll and I think all of our guys, we just believe we can get it done. Like you said about the receivers, you might not look in that group and see a Dez Bryant or you might not have some of the big names. But I think that’s what makes what makes us special. We’re all pulling in the same direction. There’s a great chemistry among that group, and so I feel like we can go out and do some good things, some big things. It’s just one game at a time, it’s that mentality and so we’ve enjoyed this one. It’ll be fun to be back at home in the Dawg Pound and the fans will be great. They’ll be loud and create a hostile environment for these guys and hopefully that’ll give us and edge and we can keep rolling here.”
McCown and the Browns definitely were rolling in Baltimore. And don’t be shocked if they find a way to roll over the Broncos, too.