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Minicamp report: McCown practicing like a starting QB for Browns

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BEREA, Ohio — Players are still in shorts and practicing without pads, but after OTAs and now one day of minicamp, Josh McCown looks very much like an NFL starting quarterback.

McCown was particularly sharp on his deep passes on Tuesday while going against a secondary it believes to be one of the top three in the NFL alongside the defensive backfield of the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.

“He can throw the deep ball,” head coach Mike Pettine said. “We came out with a little more concerted effort to throw the ball down the field. Defensively, we got into a rhythm of sitting on routes. It was nice to see, especially on a windy day like this, those guys execute.”

The Browns are McCown’s seventh team. He was pronounced the starter after the draft and nothing has changed. If anything, he is separating himself from Johnny Manziel, Thaddeus Lewis and Connor Shaw.

“I don’t know about wins and losses in practice, but we got good work in and that’s the thing for us,” McCown said. “It’s something we have to build on. It hasn’t necessarily been the case throughout the spring, but today was a good day for us.”

McCown is trying to rebound from a 1-10 season last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

–Safety Tashaun Gipson missed all of OTAs working on his own in a mini-protest of receiving a second-round tender as a restricted free agent.

Gipson finally signed his tender on Friday. He showed up with a hamstring injury, which did not please Pettine.

“We obviously held him out,” Pettine said. “It’s disappointing when a guy’s not here to show up with something. We were going to go at a very slow pace, but it’s disappointing he showed up with an injury.”

Gipson called being held out of practice “precautionary.” He said he is not bitter about not getting a long-term contract and said he wants to stay with the Browns. He is also excited about the prospect of cashing in on free agency next winter if he does not sign an extension with the Browns.

Gipson was voted to the Pro Bowl last season.

–Three exchanges between various backup centers and Johnny Manziel while standing in the shotgun were fumbled by Manziel. One snap appeared to be low.

–The Browns’ top draft pick, nose tackle Danny Shelton, was on the field for the start of minicamp. He was unable to take part in OTAs because he had two finals to take at the University of Washington. He graduated on Sunday with a degree in anthropology.

“I’m trying to understand the plays,” he said. “Mentally, I was back in college focusing on my last two finals. Physically, I stayed up to date with my conditioning.

“I did a little MMA back in Washington. Being back here I’m transitioning back to football. It wasn’t too bad.”

Shelton said the coaches are getting him up to date on what he missed in the classroom.


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