Browns Team President Mike Holmgren took to the airwaves this morning as ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning was broadcasting live from Progressive Field. Naturally, the discussion quickly focused on the recently drafted quarterback Colt McCoy.
When asked if the former Longhorn would be under center this season, Holmgren responded candidly.
“I said, ‘perfectly he shouldn’t play his first year,”’ Holmgren said. “But heck, if he’s the guy, he plays.”
Holmgren was referencing his post-draft discussion that surrounded McCoy. When the Browns selected the quarterback out of Texas with the 85th pick overall, the Cleveland media wasted zero time in asking when the rookie QB would see the field in 2010. I mean, what would Cleveland football be without a good quarterback controversy, right?
Thankfully, Holmgren wasted no time in telling the world that they collectively need to calm down about McCoy and his presence on the field through the upcoming season.
“Things can change, but I don’t expect [Colt McCoy] to come in and play this year,” said Holmgren. “We did not draft him, necessarily, to come in and play this year.”
Holmgren also reiterated several times over the three-day draft that he is not the coach of the football team and who plays would be up to head coach Eric Mangini. Mangini, himself, has repeatedly taken a “never say never” stance towards McCoy, which is a fair way to not place undue pressure on the rookie, but leaving options open in the event that he is needed.
“Ted Marchibroda’s big phrase was ‘never say never and never say always,’ so I don’t know,” said Mangini. “We will see. I think what Mike [Holmgren] says is what we are anticipating happening bu you don’t know.”
The progression has gone from one that seemed like McCoy would not even be given pads on upcoming Sundays to a “so you’re sayin’ there’s a chance” that would even make Lloyd Christmas double-take.
Holmgren backed up his stance by saying that rookie quarterbacks need certain situations in order to succeed. When discussing New York’s Mark Sanchez and Baltimore’s Joe Flacco – quarterbacks the the Browns will face this upcoming season – Holmgren lauded the respective defense and running game that each quarterback had on his side. Currently, the Browns are dealing with one of the worst defenses (statistically) in 2009 and a run game that seemingly only did well through the last month of the season.
McCoy, himself, has gone on record that he feels his role this season will be to come in and learn the system, allowing time to take its course and do what he is asked by the coaching staff and front office.
“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,” said McCoy. That’s going to be huge for me and my success, just to come in here and do my best and learn and study.”
The additions of Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace will definitely provide wiggle room when it comes to McCoy’s progression. But if anything is for certain, no matter what Holmgren or Mangini say about him, the media will continue to wonder about Cleveland’s newest quarterback.
(John Kuntz / The Plain Dealer)