"I'm not into guaranteeing or announcing a game-week starter," coach Mike Pettine said Friday in a conference call with the Cleveland media the day after the Browns' 11-10 preseason loss to Buffalo. "That, to me, comes down the road. We're just looking to have a good week of preparation and go out and play Tampa [on Aug. 29]. Let's get better."
As Pettine pointed out, he has made that statement before. He also has done nothing to indicate McCown won't start.
"We feel good about where Johnny [Manziel] is as the No. 2 and where Josh is as the No. 1," Pettine said. "Our thoughts on the quarterback picture are the same as they were going into last night."
But when the door is open even a crack for someone like Manziel, questions and speculation will follow.
Discussion on some talk shows in Cleveland on Friday dealt with Manziel overtaking McCown if things continued the way they went in Thursday's game. McCown was intercepted twice and Manziel threw a touchdown pass against the Bills.
Declaring the opening-day starter would quash all speculation.
"I worry about things that I have control over," Pettine said. "I don't control the questions outside of the building. I'm not going to have my actions be based on that. We have a plan for our quarterback room as we have a plan for all our other positions, and we're going to stick to it."
And the plan for Manziel is "to go out and get better every day," Pettine said. "Learn a new system. For him to improve and be in a position that, when his number is called to be out there and perform for the Cleveland Browns, he can do it to the best of his ability."
Pettine said that McCown had his right ring finger, injured in Thursday's loss, further examined Friday after it was X-rayed Thursday night. The coach said McCown was ready to go and would not miss practice.