BEREA, Ohio — Colt McCoy made his NFL debut Oct. 17 at Heinz Field against the fabled Pittsburgh Steelers defense.
The Browns lost 28-10, but McCoy’s play caught the attention of Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin.
“I was impressed with the way he handled the situation,” Tomlin said Wednesday in a conference call. “He’s played in some big games on the big stage and for him to be able to put forth the performance he did is not surprising to me.”
Tomlin didn’t point out any significant changes he’s seen in McCoy from his first game to now, but did say he’s learning quickly.
“He’s probably going through the normal maturation process that young guys go through,” Tomlin said. “He seems to be a quick study and he seems to be a guy that the games aren’t too big for him.”
McCoy said he didn’t look at it as being beneficial to play the Steelers a second time around.
“I wouldn’t look at it like that, he said. “I think every practice is a measure of how I can get better, how we all can improve. Our whole team approaches it that way. We still have a chance to go out and win a game.
“It’s nice to play a team for the second time, and hopefully, I’ll improve and get a chance to work on things.”
Eric Mangini said that having McCoy prepare for the offense twice for the Steelers helps with continuity.
“It affects continuity,” Mangini said. “Having some continuity and here’s what we did in the first game and what we could’ve done and what to look for. It resonates, because he’s seen it and experienced it.”
Mangini said there is an obvious advantage to have just one quarterback.
“It changes things for a lot of reasons when you have one guy, one voice and you’re building guys working together,” he said. “When you build continuity, you can do things in other areas to reinforce continuity. It affects a lot of thing with chemistry.”
McCoy threw two interceptions in the first game with the Steelers, but both were deflected balls, one off the hands of Ben Watson.
“Taking care of the ball will be important,” Mangini said. “(McCoy) gets the importance of turnovers. He knows the numbers and the chances of winning when you’re in the negative ratio.
“He’s good like that and he gets that, he’s harder on himself than any of (the coaches) could be.”
McCoy feels if the mistakes were eliminated against the Ravens, the Browns would have had a chance. If Troy Polamalu plays, he will be all over the field like Ed Reed.
“I have to be sharp out there and know where Troy and those linebackers are,” McCoy said. “I have to eliminate those mistakes. If you eliminate those mistakes and look at the game (against Baltimore), it could’ve been better. This week is no different going up against Troy and their defense.”
Mangini thinks the Browns can have success against the Steelers on offense.
“We’ve had success against them in the past,” Mangini said. “Some of it has been scheme and some has been with Josh (Cribbs) and the wildcat. But at some point, you have to be able to run the ball. They do a great job of getting off the field on defense.”
McCoy said the Browns are still motivated.
“We have a chance to go out and play at home against a team like the Steelers,” he said. “We’re going to go out and compete and finish strong.”
Polamalu’s Effect: Mangini said that safety Troy Polamalu has a huge effect on the play of the Steelers defense. Polamalu didn’t play last year when the Browns defeated the Steelers. He missed the last couple of games and his question for this week’s game is still uncertain.
“We’ll give it a go Friday and see where he is,” Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’ll follow through with the rehab program that we have been doing so with him.”
Obviously, Polamalu’s presence will impact this week’s game with the Browns.
“A guy like Polamalu, he affects the running game dramatically when he’s down in the box,” Mangini said. “He’s got great instincts and is a lot like Ed Reed, instinctually. He can affect the whole field as a safety.”
Injury Update: Robert Royal (shoulder), Floyd Womack (knee) and Peyton Hillis (ribs) will miss Wednesday’s practice, but Mangini expects Hillis to be able to play this week.
“We’ll get him some rest for him and see where he is (Thursday),” Mangini said. “But I expect him to be ready for Sunday.”