Pats prepare for Browns' bag of 'tricks'
The identity of the Browns' starting quarterback for Sunday's game with the Patriots remains a mystery, although that might change pending doctor visits and medical reports.
Two of the candidates — Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell — are sidelined with concussions. Of the two, Campbell appears closer to playing as Browns coach Rob Chudzinski listed him as "day-to-day" Tuesday even though Campbell had yet to be cleared for practice.
As a safety measure, Cleveland signed former Bears backup Caleb Hanie off the street.
Then there's Alex Tanney, a second-year pro the Browns signed last week off the Cowboys practice squad. While he was a star for Division III Monmouth, he's more known for his "Trick Shot Quarterback" video that went viral.
"We're just going to prepare for (everyone)," said Pats safety Devin McCourty. "Week 1, we didn't know who we were going to face with Buffalo. Whoever comes out, we'll be ready to go."
Bill Belichick echoed those remarks during a conference call with the media Tuesday.
"We'll just be ready for all the guys at the quarterback position. It's not really a whole lot different than we do any week," Belichick said. "We always prepare for all the guys that are active because we all know that could change in a hurry, regardless of how it starts. We'll be ready for the guys that are active at that position for the Browns."
The mention of the "Trick Shot Quarterback" drew a smile from McCourty. He didn't know Tanney by name when asked. Just by reputation.
In the video, which was filmed in 2011, Tanney throws footballs from various positions and hits outrageous targets, both moving and still. He also throws the ball through a basketball hoop, and into baskets distances away.
What should the Pats expect if Tanney's the guy?
"I saw that (video). He was accurate," McCourty said. "If you can do all the tricks he did, you have to be accurate."
Target on Gordon
Browns receiver Josh Gordon is going to be a handful for the Pats secondary. He's amassed 498 receiving yards the past two games, and has six 100-plus games this season.
"Of course, he's had a lot of production the last couple weeks but I don't think you've seen anything in those games that you haven't seen previously in the year. He's a very explosive player," Belichick said. "He can get behind the defense. He has good speed down the field. He does a good job on underneath routes, inside routes, crossing patterns, curls, in-cuts, things like that of not only going in and catching them in traffic but he's a strong guy, breaks a lot of tackles, bounces off guys.
"He's a hard guy to handle one-on-one out there in terms of tackling and just getting him on the ground. . . . He's a really hard guy to defend because they do so many things with him and you have to defend him at all three levels of the defense."
Develin scores praise
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had high praise for fullback James Develin, who scored a touchdown in Sunday's 34-31 win over the Texans. McDaniels said Develin, who used every ounce of effort and energy he had to score from the 1-yard line, has embraced his role with the team.
"(He's) an incredibly unselfish player, works hard, definitely adds an element of toughness to our team and to our offense," McDaniels said. "He comes to work every day and gives you everything he has. I think anytime you can add a player to your team like that, it can only help you."