Josh McCown probably would've said it about any of the other teams he's played for in his long NFL career. But because he's a decent, sincere fellow, when he was asked about journeying back to the city he called home the previous two seasons to play the Browns on Sunday, you could almost hear Drew Carey belting out a few heartfelt bars of "Cleveland Rocks" in the background.
"It'll be fun," the Jets quarterback said after today's practice. "There are a lot of good, good people there and great relationships I was able to make over the last couple of years being there. Love all those people. ... So it'll be fun to go back and see those guys, and I'm looking forward to competing against them as well."
Due to the work of a lot of Jets, McCown to Cleveland is not the only storyline for this Week 5 game, as a lot of NFL watchers thought it might be. After all, the Jets are looking to go into the city on Lake Erie to secure their first three-game win streak and their first over-.500 record in two years.
Further, those goals are achievable not only because the Jets have started hot and the 0-4 Browns have not but in large part because McCown is playing like anything except a tired 15-year veteran holding the fort until one young QB or another takes the job away from him.
Besides his acknowledged leadership skills, McCown has been remarkable for his marksmanship. Through the season's first quarter, the career sub-60% passer has completed 70.1% of his throws, second-best in the league behind only the Chiefs' Alex Smith. And his third-quarter incompletion intended for Jermaine Kearse vs. Jacksonville ended two hot streaks — 12 straight completions vs. the Jaguars and 19 straight third-down completions that started at Oakland.
"And I expected to complete them, so it's not surprising," he said with a laugh. "It's just the standard we set at practice, not wanting the ball to be on the ground. I can just tell you, if I throw an incompletion, it really kind of ruins my day."
McCown credits coordinator John Morton and QBs coach Jeremy Bates for setting the table for this accuracy thing, and then for his receivers — another fine storyline for the Green & White to kick off the second quarter of the schedule — for keeping the ball off the turf.
"I think when you set that kind of bar in practice, it bears fruit on the field on Sunday. We've seen that so far and we've got to keep that going," he said. "More than anything, I think it can be better."
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Completion percentage is one of the cornerstones to good quarterbacking. And now that McCown has established the third-most accurate first four games of passing in franchise history — behind Chad Pennington's 71.3% in '04 and Brett Favre's 70.2% in '08 (minimum 100 attempts) — he's taking aim against the team he said he was prepared to return to this year before the Browns released him in February and then drafted DeShone Kizer in Round 2 in April.
"I was looking forward to the possibility of that happening," McCown said. "But when that changed, it opened to door to be able to come here, and I'm glad it worked out the way it did."