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Raiders vs. Browns: Cleveland's QB Decision & Looking to Add More Talent - The Sunday Five

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Cleveland Browns fans, and welcome to gameday! Be sure to check out our game preview and prediction for the Browns' Week 3 matchup today against the Oakland Raiders. In this week's edition of "The Sunday Five," I take a look at why the Browns went back to QB Josh McCown over QB Johnny Manziel, how impressive QB Derek Carr looks, and more.

1. Back to McCown It Is: Heading into this season, if the Browns were going to be a successful team, they were going to need to do it by playing tough defense, using the gift of Andy Lee to have a game-long advantage in field position, and put together at least two long, methodical touchdown drives throughout the game on offense. It's a formula that Cleveland can use to regularly win games by a score of around 20-17.

I believe that head coach Mike Pettine has a vision of that approach succeeding with veteran QB Josh McCown under center and he wants to see it through. While QB Johnny Manziel's performance in his first win last week was encouraging, there were some things that I think Pettine still saw as red flags. The team ran an astonishingly-low 49 offensive plays, compared to the defense being out there for 78 plays. The Browns' longest offensive drive lasted 4:56. Counting the third preseason game and the regular season opener, both of McCown's opening-game drives have lasted nearly 10 minutes.

The Browns were also worried about Manziel making a mistake in the second half, even with the lead, and how did he respond? By fumbling the ball carelessly twice on third down. Cleveland was fortunate to have recovered both of them, but there are times that those fumbles get returned for touchdowns. I also don't think the coaching staff believes that Manziel's big-play scoring can be depended on week-in and week-out. They like the progress he's made, but want him to keep working at it. In the mean time, they're going back to the guy who they think can continue to lead those longer drives.

Also, with brother Luke McCown getting the start for the Saints this week, how could Pettine resist the opportunity to see the McCown brothers starting in the NFL again for the first time since December of 2007?

2. Watching the Film on Derek Carr: I was impressed with Derek Carr last season, and after watching bits of pieces of him over the first two weeks on NFL Game Pass, I continue to be impressed. He gets the ball out very quick and seems to have a great grasp of where all of his receivers are going to be. He isn't playing behind an awful offensive line, so I expect him to have a lot more success than his brother, David Carr, did with the Texans back when he was the No. 1 overall pick.

While Carr himself is impressive, I think their Week 1 showing against the Bengals is a sign of things to come this season as opposed to their Week 2 showing against the Ravens. Oakland has had issues with dropped passes and mental mistakes for awhile now, and given the road woes they've faced over the past several years, they should be facing an uphill battle today against Cleveland that is still too much for them to overcome.

3. Tryout Players for the Browns This Week: The Browns were supposedly busy trying out players late in the week. One report says they tried out WR Rasheed Bailey, and then Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle detailed the other players who tried out:

WR Jerry Rice Jr, is the son of Jerry Rice (who would've guessed!?!). Rannell Hall is a wide receiver, Robert Lester is a safety, Uzoma Nwachukwu is a wide receiver, Phillip Thomas is a safety (former fourth-round pick), and Tyrequek Zimmerman is a safety. Man, there are some names in that group that would be tough to memorize when typing recaps. If I had to guess, with QB Josh McCown returning from his concussion, the team wouldn't need QB Matt Blanchard on the practice squad any more. We might see Blanchard cut next week in favor of one of these players or somebody else out there.

4. Around the Division: It seems unusual that the Raiders' first three games have all been against AFC North opponents: the Bengals, the Ravens, and now the Browns. Speaking of the division, it's still early in the season, but it's never too early to try and take the division lead. Cincinnati squares off against Baltimore, and an 0-3 start would put a dagger in the Ravens' playoff hopes this season. Since 1990, teams that fall to 0-3 have just a 2.4% chance of making the playoffs, and nobody has done it since the Bills in 1998.

The Steelers take on the Rams in St. Louis. I picked the Rams in an upset, but I've also been way underselling Pittsburgh's talent compared to the rest of the media. If the Steelers can pull off a convincing win, I'll start leaning toward giving them more credit. Right now, there blowout win over the 49ers last week doesn't cut it for me.

5. Projecting the Inactives for the Raiders vs. Browns: It's time to predict the inactives on gameday, as the team can only dress 46 players. The players we know for sure will be inactive this week are RB Robert Turbin, OLB Scott Solomon, and CB K'Waun Williams. Therefore, I need to project four inactive players. I'm going to go with TE E.J. Bibbs, DL Xavier Cooper, S Ibraheim Campbell, and CB Justin Gilbert as my other inactives.

Bibbs seems like a sure-pick again. Cooper will only be active if DE Desmond Bryant (questionable) can't go because of his shoulder injury. I think Gilbert would have played had he not hurt his hamstring this week. Campbell is a candidate to be up so the team has an extra defensive back due to Williams' concussion, but then they'd have to deactivate...probably a wide receiver, and I think they'd prefer to keep giving WR Dwayne Bowe some reps.