Browns have QB woes,

Shoul­der prob­lems force Cleve­land to turn to No. 3 Lewis and sign John­son.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Chuck Murr

BEREa, OHiO — The Cleve­land Browns are down to their third-string quar­ter­back.

With both Bran­don Wee­den and former Longhorn Colt McCoy miss­ing prac­tice Wed­nes­day due to right shoul­der in­juries, Thad Lewis took first­team snaps in prac­tice. El­e­vated from the prac­tice squad on Mon­day, Lewis could make his NFL de­but in Pitts­burgh on Sun­day.

The Browns also signed free agent quar­ter­back Josh John­son, who spent four sea­sons in Tampa Bay.

John­son re­placed safety Usama Young on the ros­ter as the Browns look for pro­tec­tion at quar­ter­back, where starter Wee­den went out with a sprained right shoul­der in Cleve­land’s 34-12 loss in Den­ver on Sun­day.

Coach Pat Shur­mur said Wed­nes­day that McCoy also has a sore right shoul­der. Nei­ther Wee­den nor McCoy prac­ticed. Rookie run­ning back Trent Richard­son also missed prac­tice be­cause of a sprained left an­kle.

“The in­juries to Bran­don and Trent are not as se­ri­ous as you might have thought,” Shu­mur said. “We’ll see how they come back. If they are healthy, they will play. If they can’t, I have no prob­lem rul­ing them out.”

Shur­mur also did not rule out McCoy.

When the Browns (510) play the Steel­ers (7-8), they will be look­ing for their first se­ries sweep against their ri­vals since 1988.

They could be do­ing it with Lewis in com­mand. The 25-year-old was on St. Louis’ prac­tice squad in 2010 when Shur­mur was an as­sis­tant with the Rams. The Browns claimed him on waivers in Septem­ber 2011, but he has yet to take a snap in a reg­u­lar-sea­son game.

Shur­mur said he has con­fi­dence in Lewis, who played quite a bit in ex­hi­bi­tion games this past sum­mer. He added that John­son is fa­mil­iar with the Browns’ West Coast of­fense, but would need time to learn the playbook.

McCoy was hurt some­time af­ter re­plac­ing Wee­den in the sec­ond half against the Broncos. He was sacked four times in his lim­ited ap­pear­ance, but Shur­mur said he didn’t know if it was one par­tic­u­lar play that caused the prob­lem.

“Colt came in and told us he was sore,” Shu­mur said. “He’s get­ting treated.”

Young sus­tained a thumb in­jury that likely will re­quire surgery. He joins a bat­tered de­fen­sive back­field that is al­ready miss­ing T.J. Ward with a knee in­jury.

TONY AvE­LAR / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Bran­don Wee­den (left) and Colt McCoy were in­jured in Cleve­land’s loss at Den­ver on Sun­day. Their in­juries aren’t con­sid­ered se­ri­ous, but both were held out of prac­tice on Wed­nes­day.

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