“I'm not going to sit here and talk about trying to stir up a quarterback controversy,” Pettine said after the Browns 11–10 loss to the Bills. “Josh is firmly the one.”
McCown threw two interceptions against the Bills and was sacked three times before leaving the game with a sore right finger, on which X-rays were negative. Manziel completed 10 of 18 pass attempts for 118 yards with a 96-yard touchdown drive. He was sacked once and threw no interceptions.
Pettine pointed out that McCown played against stiffer competition than Manziel, with Manziel facing mostly second- and third-team defenders.
Entering the preseason, Manziel hadn't given up hope that he could earn the starting job if he played well enough. But after Thursday's game he said he is not pressing McCown and that the two do not have a hostile relationship.
“That's definitely not my words I'm going to use, just ‘putting heat’ on Josh,” Manziel said, according to Cleveland.com. “I think Josh has done everything right since the day he's been here. He's obviously a vet and has a very good understanding of this. Mine and Josh's relationship right now, I'm trying to learn from him, learn from some of the things he does right and learn from some of the mistakes he does make.”
McCown is expected to get most of the playing time in the Browns' next preseason game against the Buccaneers on Aug. 29. The Browns play their final preseason game against the Bears before opening the regular season on Sept. 13 against the Jets.
- Erin Flynn