Confident McCoy shines for Browns

Confident McCoy shines for Browns

Second-year quarterback looks like he belongs against Packers. Zac Jackson reports from Cleveland Browns Stadium.

This story appears courtesy of FOXSportsOhio.com.


CLEVELAND -- Considering the latest wave of change to hit the Cleveland Browns and the circumstances of the offseason, it would be fair to assume the Browns would be happy with small, slow progress in this preseason. 

If Colt McCoy keeps playing like he did Saturday night, there will be real progress. 

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Check out photos from Saturday's win over Green Bay.

The overall product wasn't perfect by any means, nor was it supposed to be. But McCoy not only flirted with a little personal perfection in completing 9-of-10 passes, he directed traffic and attacked the Packers defense like he's been playing in the Browns' new West Coast Offense for years, not weeks. 

McCoy's final line included 135 yards, a touchdown pass, a rating of 152.1 and completions to six different receivers. He capped a 5-for-5 first series with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Cribbs, and he connected with Ben Watson for two big plays against the Packers backups on his final series of the evening. When he went to the sideline following Peyton Hillis' short touchdown run, the Browns led 14-7.

"Colt worked us down the field twice," Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. "That's the mark of a quarterback, getting you in the end zone."

For all that's yet to be known about these Browns -- right now, 10 weeks from now and 52 weeks from now -- that McCoy is the most important Brown is undisputed. He's not always going to have the benefit of getting to his third or fourth read or playing an entire drive against the opposition's second defense, but he showed that he's confident in what he's doing and not afraid to push the ball down the field when the opportunity presents itself. 

Besides seeing Cribbs in single coverage against Patrick Lee and delivering the ball to the numbers at the goal line, he hit Watson for back-to-back gains of 19 and 37. 

"We'll keep working," McCoy said. "I'll be the first to tell you, we're nowhere where we need to be. We'll go back this week and start installing again. We've still got things to put in, things to work on. It was fun tonight to kind of see where we are as an offense. I thought for the most part we went out there and executed pretty well."

You take the preseason for what it's worth, which in the big picture is a whole lot of nothing. Fifty-two weeks ago, Jake Delhomme was darn close to masterful with the Browns' starters against the Packers, who went on to win the Super Bowl. McCoy was a lost rookie throwing ducks with the third unit. 

Now, McCoy looks -- and I write this with very little hesitation -- legitimate. 

If he is the real deal, then the Browns are a lot closer to the NFL legitimacy they've been aspiring to for the last four (and maybe three times that) years. One game and one night under these circumstances doesn't mean that he's arrived, but he's getting there. 

"Colt came out today and really responded," Hillis said. "I am very proud of him and our younger receivers. It is a work in progress, but it looks like the passing game is coming along."

You don't even have to be up on the Browns' recent history of swings and terrible misses at the quarterback position to know that getting even a little excited about a preseason game counts as putting the cart before The Colt. But the system seems to fit McCoy, who was up and down in his rookie year but gained valuable experience. 

"It was a good night," McCoy said. "The big thing is the offensive line gave me time to throw. They're our anchors out there. We're going to throw the ball around this year."

Throwing it around isn't something, at least in more than a bunch of quick passes and short crossing routes, that we expect these Browns to do. But it's a(nother) new chapter, a new start, and the book is open. McCoy has something to build on. 

The real games don't start for a month, and there's much to be decided. But if McCoy can continue to play and lead like he has for the last two weeks and like he did Saturday night, it's not a stretch to say the Browns could be ahead of their own conservative schedule.


This story appears courtesy of FOXSportsOhio.com.


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