Four years ago Colt McCoy was known as a Texas quarterback that beat the Ohio State Buckeyes in a bowl game on a last minute drive. To say he wasn’t well liked in the state then is an understatement. Now McCoy is the toast of Northern Ohio and with some success, could own the state before long.
McCoy is walking onto the field this year as the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns. After glimpses of brilliance last year in games against Pittsburgh (Loss), New England (win) and the New York Jets (loss), McCoy solidified himself as the Browns number one QB. Now he has to prove he has what it takes.
This means proving it to a new coach. Pat Shurmur. Shurmur takes over for the fired Eric Mangini and already, the relationship between Shurmur and McCoy is better than last year’s coaching staff.
Last year’s staff felt as though they had McCoy thrust upon them. Browns President Mike Holmgren, known as a Quarterback “guru”, strongly preferred the team pick McCoy in the third round of the 2010 NFL draft. Afterwards Mangini gave his new quarterback something of a silent treatment.
Not only did Mangini give McCoy the cold shoulder, but he also decided McCoy didn’t need the weekly game plan in a timely fashion. Instead of getting it on Monday, Mangini withheld it from McCoy until Wednesday. Then came game 9 and the Browns had to use McCoy because previous starters, Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme were injured. McCoy was it.
Being the son of a long time High School football coach in Texas, McCoy will reluctantly only confirm details of last season.
“Last year had a lot of challenges, I spent a lot of time trying to think about ‘Why did this happen? Or that happen?’ ”
Now he understands the pettiness of Professional football. That should make him a better player. At least until the strike hit. Now Shurmur feels the Browns and McCoy are way behind.
McCoy now has Shurmur, who is always willing to go over the offense and include him in the creation of the game plan. But development has been set back by the lockout. The West Coast offense is tough enough to teach without practices. Shurmur believes it lost 24 opportunities to work with players on the field. This doesn’t even speak to the countless weeks of private conversation and study Shurmur and McCoy would have had.
But the season begins this Saturday. The first pre season game and it happens in Cleveland against the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. This should be a test for the team and Shurmur, let alone something new for McCoy.
McCoy will actually play in the first quarter, and then get to sit back and watch the rest of the game. Last year he barely got playing time in the pre season in the fourth quarter. Now, all eyes are upon Colt.
11,000 fans came to an open practice last week just to see the team. That shows how much Cleveland wants a winning football team.
Now they are hoping Colt McCoy can deliver.