Browns coach Hue Jackson could develop appreciation of veteran Josh McCown as potential starting quarterback in 2016

Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.

Notes, quotes and observations on the Browns …

  • Speculation about the next Cleveland Browns quarterback is in full swing again, and it will peak on draft night on April 28. But don’t discount one name to open the 2016 season behind center – Josh McCown.

    “Even if you draft a young guy, he can be a placeholder and play well if the young guy’s not ready, or be a backup,” said a source close to new Browns coach Hue Jackson. “He’s like Jon Kitna in Cincinnati for [coach] Marvin [Lewis]. It’s the same exact situation that Marvin came into.”

    In 2003, Lewis replaced Dick LeBeau as Cincinnati Bengals coach and inherited a 2-14 team. Jackson replaced Mike Pettine as Browns coach and inherited a 3-13 team.

    The Bengals had the No. 1 pick in the draft and they used it on USC quarterback Carson Palmer. The Browns own the No. 2 pick in the draft and they are expected to use it on a quarterback.

    Kitna was 31 at the time and was coming off a 2-10 season with the Bengals. McCown will be 37 and is coming off a 1-7 season with the Browns.

    Instead of forcing in Palmer from the start, Lewis held off and dedicated the 2003 season to Kitna. He coaxed the best season of Kitna’s 16-year career and the Bengals made it to 8-8. Kitna started all 16 games.

    Jackson joined the Bengals the following season as receivers coach. As a USC assistant coach, Jackson actually recruited Palmer to the school.

    Palmer took over in 2004. After another 8-8 season, the Bengals rose to 11-5 in Lewis’ third season and won the AFC North division.

    McCown, who attended the 16th annual Greater Cleveland Sports Awards banquet on Thursday, said he is excited about the hiring of Jackson and intended to meet with him next week.

    McCown missed eight games with injuries in 2015, including the last five with a broken collarbone

  • The Browns are doing a good job of being non-commital about the future of Johnny Manziel.

    The quarterback with issues has not been heard from since skipping a scheduled meeting with a team doctor prior to the team’s last game and reportedly partying and gambling in Las Vegas. Sashi Brown, executive VP of football operations, said Manziel was fined for missing the meeting.

    Jackson has implied he wants to move on from Manziel, but has fallen short of making any definitive comments about Manziel until reviewing his game video. That analysis probably will occur next week.

    On Thursday, owner Jimmy Haslam deferred questions about Manziel’s future to Jackson.

    "I think we made clear, I don't have any different feelings than we had on Sunday January 3rd,” Haslam said. “I think Johnny made progress on the field last year. I think that's undeniable. We have a certain expectation for our players and that includes Johnny and he's got to live up to those expectations."

    The Browns may hold off from saying anything definitive on Manziel until exploring efforts to trade him. Those efforts would intensify at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis next month.

    A trade of Manziel is complicated by the fact his contract includes a full guarantee of his third-year salary of $1.169 million in 2016 and his fourth-year salary of $1.294 million in 2017. Which team would be willing to inherit those guarantees, given Manziel’s off-field exploits?

    The Browns may have an internal timetable of a decision on Manziel of April 4, which is the first day of Jackson’s offseason training program. That’s really the first official day Manziel would be required to report to the team.