Josh McCown will line up under center this Sunday for the Cleveland Browns, allowing the offense to return to some level of normalcy after five hectic weeks.
The Cleveland Browns have begun the 2016 season with seven losses and six different players throwing passes, but Week 8 is shaping up to bring some stability back to the offense and the team in general.
It will be McCown’s second start of the season, with his first coming in Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens when a potential game-winning drive was ruined by a phantom taunting penalty. It dropped the Browns to 0-2 on the season, but the most notable loss was that of McCown, who finished the game with a broken collarbone.
McCown’s absence allowed Cody Kessler to show fans why the Browns took him so high in the draft, but it also saw him leave two games with injuries. He is currently in the concussion protocol, meaning McCown is the latest tribute to try to lead this team to a win and stay healthy at the same time.
The return of McCown will give the team its best chance to win for the remainder of the season, as a 2-5 Jets team heads to town with countless problems of its own. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter once again after being benched for Geno Smith, who went down with an ACL injury last Sunday.
The fact the Jets are the team in town does help, but McCown will help this offense run at a high level for the first time since the first quarter of Week 2, when the team scored three touchdowns.
The most visible change will be the balance displayed on offense. After having to go away from the traditional run game early in games, the Browns will have a normal balance on offense, with a near equal amount of runs and passes.
The play-action pass will make a triumphant return, as establishing the run game early will open up the passing game. It is basic football, but it has been something the Browns have been unable to do as of late due to early deficits and inexperience at the quarterback position.
Perhaps even Terrelle Pryor can return to his role as a full-time wide receiver, leaving the read-option out of the playbook with McCown back at the helm.
The Jets do have a dominant front-seven, which is where the play-action pass will come into play and help relieve some of the pressure on the offensive line. This would still be the game plan if McCown wasn’t the starter, but it would not turn out as well as it will with the veteran in the game.
It may be too optimistic to believe McCown will lead this team to a win, as he has only won one game as a starter for the Browns, but it is certainly the team’s best chance at a win this season. After an 0-7 start, fans will be pinning their hopes on McCown and the rest of the team to bring some positivity to the narrative surrounding this team.
He will not be able to do it all by himself, but McCown will at least give fans a reason to tune in Sunday in the hope that a win will finally come in 2016.