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Pettine: Josh McCown 'can still spin it' for Browns

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The belle of the ball at Saturday's Browns Fan Fest? Josh McCown.

Coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer heaped high praise on the veteran quarterback who appears all but locked in as the team's Week 1 starter.

"He's a special, special person and the right guy to have on this team," Farmer said, pointing to McCown's mentorship of the roster's younger players, per Daryl Ruiter of WKRK-FM.

"He can still spin it," said Pettine, saying that McCown "can still play if we put him in the right circumstances."

Until the Browns pinpoint their "long-term solution" under center, Pettine argued, "I don't think you can do better than Josh McCown. Time will tell."

The Browns are hoping that McCown can return to the form he showed in 2013, when the former Bears passer torched defenses with 13 touchdowns to just one interception during a five-start explosion. None of that handiwork translated to Tampa, where McCown was a sinking ship behind one of the NFL's worst offensive lines in 2014.

Cleveland, though, has been clear about their intentions: They plan to pound the ball behind a talented front five, asking McCown to manage a run-heavy offense with mistake-free play through the air. Around The NFL's Gregg Rosenthal isn't buying it, citing the Browns as owning the worst quarterback group league-wide.

The true takeaway from Saturday's McCown love-in has more to do with Johnny Manziel. It's obvious that the second-year passer needs to set the earth on fire in preseason action to have any shot of besting McCown. After last year's up-and-down act under center, the Browns -- especially Pettine -- seem married to handing the show over to a hard-working veteran.

That doesn't make McCown a savior. He's far from it, leaving the Browns in a very familiar situation at the position. The roster has improved and gained depth, but playing around your quarterback is a dangerous game in today's NFL.

Still, Pettine remains uncowed, saying Saturday: "We're not going to back down to anybody."

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