Browns to start Josh McCown at QB for Cody Kessler

ByPat McManamon ESPN logo
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Josh McCown will start at quarterback for the winless Cleveland Brownson Sunday against the New York Giants.

Coach Hue Jackson said that although Robert Griffin IIIwill practice, he has not been cleared for contact or to play in a game. Rookie Cody Kessler had his second concussion in five games and is out indefinitely.

"We know Cody is in concussion protocol, and our medical professionals will advise us on the best way to move forward with him," Jackson said.

Jackson also said he was not pleased with comments from receiver Terrelle Pryor, who said after Sunday's loss to Pittsburgh that having the quarterbacks hit as often as they were was "bullcrap" and that he was tired of seeing the quarterbacks get hit.

"Because that's not Terrelle's job," Jackson said. "I know he's frustrated and we all are, and no doubt we need to protect our quarterback. But that's not for him to say. Let's focus on ourselves and support each other. That's what good teams do, and that's what we're going to work to become."

Jackson said he had a talk with Pryor on Monday.

"He was awesome, as always," Jackson said. "I think sometimes, like most people, after the game in the heat of the moment, you're a little frustrated and maybe you say some things you wish you hadn't. I understand it's coming from a good place. I know that no one wants to see our quarterbacks get hit. But I think everybody's got to let me be the judge of that."

The Steelers had eight sacks with 14 hits on Kessler and McCown. In some cases, the Steelers won matchups against linemen. At times it seemed the quarterbacks held the ball too long. And on some plays the Steelers had the advantage of a powerful linebacker being blocked by a back.

"We all have a part in it," Jackson said.

The coach seemed less upset by comments from Joe Thomas, who said the team's offseason strategy was to let experienced linemen go and that then "you got to lie in the bed that you made."

"Me and Joe have a great relationship," Jackson said. "Again, I just think all of our players are frustrated. They want to win. I think it's coming from a good place."

Jackson said emphatically that this was not a sign that the stress of being winless was taking a toll on unity.

"We're going to continue to have each other's back," Jackson said. "I got to do that better, too. It's an every-day and an every-situation deal for me and this football team. We'll work our way through it, and we'll stay together. We'll stay committed, and we're going to be better."

He added that he firmly believes he is the right person to turn around the Browns.

"I understand how our fans and all people feel," he said. "I'm not running from this. I'm going to run to it. I'm going to deal with it head-on, and I'm going to fix this."