BEREA—The quarterback is usually the guy who garners all the attention. It’s said that the quarterback gets too much credit when a team wins and he gets too much of the blame when the team loses.
It comes with the territory.
That’s why it’s no surprise that Colt McCoy is getting a lot of media attention at the Browns rookie minicamp this weekend.
The Browns drafted three players ahead of McCoy in Joe Haden, T.J. Ward and Montario Hardesty, yet McCoy was probably the most photographed and interviewed during the weekend.
“First of all, I am really excited,” McCoy said. “I am excited to be part of the Cleveland Browns. When my name was called, I was fired up. When coach (Eric) Mangini and coach (Mike) Holmgren were on the phone, that was a pretty special moment.
“Second of all, I am coming in here to learn,” he said. “I have great mentors in coach (Brian) Daboll and coach (Carl) Smith and having Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and Brett Ratliff here that I can learn from.”
In Saturday’s session that was open to the media, McCoy showed consistent accuracy has he threw short crossing passes to receivers Johnathan Haggerty, Aaron Valentin, Robby Paris and Dion Morton. Haggerty and Valentin were recently signed as undrafted free agents from SW Oklahoma State and Purdue, respectively, while Paris and Morton are from Notre Dame and Colorado State, respectively. Parris and Morton are tryout players and Parris is from Olmsted Falls and St. Ignatius.
The only drafted receiver, sixth-round pick Carlton Mitchell, didn’t participate in passing drills with a strained leg muscle.
Eric Mangini said it’s hard to evaluate the players as football players during the minicamp, but the quarterback has more on his plate. Besides, McCoy, former Texas Tech signal caller Graham Harrell is the only other quarterback in camp.
“I thought he did a nice job,” Mangini said. “I think all of these guys are swimming. With quarterbacks they have that much more information because they have to learn the whole offense.
“They have to run the offense,” he said. “I thought that all that being considered, he did well. He picks up the information fairly quickly. He’s throwing to a whole different group of guys and hearing a lot of different approaches in terms of the plays we are calling. I thought, overall, he had a nice first day.”
“Just to come in here and do my best and learn and study,” McCoy said. “Rookie camp is a lot of fun, getting to learn all the guys in my class, seeing all these guys. Most of all, I am just excited.”
McCoy, like all players is a competitor. He wants to play and admitted so, even when Holmgren announced that he will most likely spend his rookie season holding a clipboard.
“That’s my job,” McCoy said. “I asked them what my expectations should be coming into cap and they said to one, ‘do your best,’ which I have always done. I am going to work hard and do my best in everything that I do.
“Second, of all, ‘come in here and learn,’ “he said. “He said to be the leader of your draft class, get to know these guys, develop that leadership role and learn. First one here, last one to leave and that’s exactly what I did in high school and at UT. I’ve spent a lot of time learning. I’ve got great coaches around me, great teammates. I’m just excited.”
Most assume that McCoy will be the third quarterback behind Delhomme and Wallace, with Ratliff being the odd man out.
However, Mangini said that’s not necessarily true.
“It’s not about Colt,” Mangini said. “I’ve kept four (quarterbacks)in the past. If you have guys who you think have a chance, you try to keep them around.
“I’m not opposed to carrying four quarterbacks,” Mangini said. “(Ratliff’s) done a good job and I anticipate that he will keep improving.”
Mangini was asked if the reason to keep four quarterbacks is so McCoy wouldn’t have to play if Delhomme and Wallace were injured.
“Ted Marchibroda said ‘You never say never’, but we don’t anticipate Colt playing this season,” Mangini said.
Mangini insists that he’s on board with playing the veteran Delhomme and his abysmal 2009 season was just one of those seasons.
“I don’t necessarily look at it as a comeback (in 2010), but last year was more of an exception,” Mangini said. “It was more of a blip in the screen. We all have that.”
In a perfect scenario, the Browns are hoping Delhomme and Wallace can bridge the gap until McCoy is ready to play.
“I think every quarterback is a competitor,” McCoy said. “I definitely see myself coming in, learning the system, learning the program and, like I said, coach Holmgren and coach Mangini just told me to come in and do my best and learn.
“That is exactly what I am going to do, but I do see myself playing in the long term,” he said. “I want to be out there. I am a competitor. I think every person on this team is. You ask anybody in this locker room what they want and they want to be suited up and playing. Obviously, that’s the goal for everybody, but m y job right now is to come in and learn and to do my best.”