BEREA, Ohio—Let’s get right to the point.
Colt McCoy should remain the starter for the foreseeable future. I know it wasn’t supposed to be this way, but again, it wasn’t supposed to be that way for Tom Brady, either.
If you remember, Drew Bledsoe was the Patriots’ entrenched quarterback who went down with injury and a little-known sixth-round draft choice from Michigan named Brady was put in. Bledsoe never played again with New England, other than filling in for injuries. The rest is history as Brady led the Patriots to four Super Bowl appearances and three wins.
Eric Mangini, who was on the Patriots’ staff when Brady went in for Bledsoe said last week, ‘It wasn’t like we (as coaches) were saying, ‘Alright, we have Brady, now.’
Mangini made it clear several weeks ago that when Jake Delhomme was healthy he was the starting quarterback. Mangini also said whoever gave the Browns the best chance to win would be the quarterback. If Seneca Wallace was healthy, he most likely would’ve started against New England and his play until his injury showed enough promise to be the starter.
However, things have changed.
McCoy has stated the case that he gives the Browns the best chance to win. He led the Browns to a win over the defending Super Bowl champions Saints two weeks ago and the Patriots Sunday, the team with the best record in the NFL prior to playing the Browns. Both had Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks at the helm in Drew Brees and Tom Brady.
“I knew we had to get more points because they have Tom stinkin’ Brady over there,” McCoy said after the game.
The Browns dominated the Patriots and the same could be said in the Saints’ win.
McCoy has led the Browns to a 2-1 record in his three starts and an 83.5 QB rating against arguably three of the best teams in the NFL. He has not thrown an interception in the past two games. One of the two he threw in his debut against the Steelers was deflected off of Ben Watson’s hands.
He is 46-of-68 for 529 yards and a completion percentage of 67.6 with one touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran for a 16-yard touchdown against New England.
McCoy’s accuracy is the key statistic. McCoy threw for a career completion percentage in four years of college of over 70 percent and thus far, he has the highest percentage of the Browns quarterbacks. For those who think he just dinks and dunks, he has the highest yards per attempt average of any of the Browns quarterbacks at 7.8 yards per attempt.
I went on record a couple of weeks ago stating that the Browns should not return to Delhomme, but Wallace and McCoy should play out the season. I felt Wallace showed enough in his last game against Atlanta, that he could run the offense efficiently.
However, after seeing McCoy handle himself in the environment he has been thrust into for the past three weeks, he has met every challenge that has been presented to him. He has managed the game and not turned the ball over. Delhomme has played only a game and a half and has four interceptions.
This is not to say McCoy is not going to have some rough outings, but at this point, it doesn’t seem that will faze him or hurt his confidence level. He’s running the offense and taking command of the leadership role that he is in. He has said all of the right things, but more importantly, he has performed on the field well enough to continue on.
There is a reason that McCoy led the Texas Longhorns to more wins (47) than any other quarterback in college history over his four seasons in Austin. The kid is a winner and knows how to lead. You don’t just lose that when you turn professional.
Wallace has been a career backup and a good one and there’s no reason he can’t continue in that role with the Browns. Wallace said when he returns he should be the starter. A week ago, that would be true, but he sat out one too many weeks. I expect Wallace will be ready to play against the Jets next Sunday, but Mangini, Holmgren and staff should not change a winning combination right now.
If McCoy can perform against Pittsburgh, New Orleans and New England, I think it’s fair to assume he will be alright against the Jets, Jaguars, Panthers, Dolphins, Bills and Bengals in the coming weeks. Most fans would agree beyond next week’s battle with the Jets, the following five games are very winnable. if the Browns play like they did against the Saints and Patriots, they could win any or all of the next six games.
If and when, McCoy falters, the Browns can always go back to Wallace.
But for now, it should be Colt McCoy’s job to lose.
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