For 15th time in 13 seasons, Bengals prepare for new Browns QB

CINCINNATI -- In 25 games against the Cleveland Browns as the Cincinnati Bengals' head coach, Marvin Lewis has started just four quarterbacks: Jon Kitna, Carson Palmer, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Andy Dalton.

Within that same stretch of games, one that dates to September 2003, the Browns have trotted out nearly four times as many quarterbacks against their in-state division rival.

When Austin Davis lines up behind center at the start of Sunday afternoon's game, he will become the 15th player to start at quarterback in the rivalry since Lewis became the Bengals' head coach 13 seasons ago. It means that for the 15th time in 26 games in the series, the Bengals must prepare to face a new quarterback.

"We can't get caught up and worried about that," Lewis said Wednesday about the latest Browns quarterback change. "Our issue is us, and our preparation and the things we're doing defensively, and then applying it to the opponent."

Since Lewis took over in Cincinnati, the Bengals are 17-8 against the Browns.

Just before Lewis' Wednesday news conference, Browns coach Mike Pettine announced that Davis would start this weekend after Josh McCown suffered a season-ending collarbone injury in Monday night's 33-27 loss to Baltimore. Davis got the start over Johnny Manziel, the second-year quarterback who started the past two "Battle of Ohio" games. Manziel's Browns were outscored 61-10 in those two games. He also was sacked six times, threw two interceptions and had a 27.4 Total QBR in them.

One of Manziel's starts, a 31-10 loss, came a month ago in Cincinnati.

"As I tell you every time you ask me a quarterback question," Lewis said to a reporter, "we've got to defend the offense and what they do in the run and pass, and then work from there with it."

The Bengals clearly had success with Manziel when he made his first career start in a 30-0 Cincinnati win last December. They hope to do the same as Davis makes his starting debut. In relief of the injured McCown on Monday night, Davis was 7-for-10 with a key late touchdown pass.

It's clear the Bengals are listening to Lewis and not concerning themselves with the difference in styles of Manziel and Davis.

"You can't," cornerback Adam Jones said. "[The Browns' game plan] is going to be fairly simple and maybe the same thing they did the last time. We'll know what we get by halftime. By halftime, we'll be able to make all adjustments and see what the game plan is. We've got some good coaches in here. They do a good job of getting us prepared."

Added safety George Iloka: "They have their playbook, they have their system, and they're not going to change so much around in three days. ... They'll have a few wrinkles here or there and obviously their quarterback, whoever it is, will have their own different style, but the plays are the plays."