Two weeks ago I wrote that Browns coach Eric Mangini was scared to play Colt McCoy after choosing a gimpy Jake Delhomme over him in a home loss to Atlanta. Last week I did a 180 and said McCoy should play the rest of the way after his performance in Pittsburgh. So where do I sit after yesterday’s win in New Orleans?
I still want to see more.
It was more of a “back to reality” situation for the Browns rookie QB in the Superdome. Even though the Browns offense seemingly never had the ball, when it did, it was a 2009 redux – the defense knew the Browns weren’t going to throw the ball deep and adjusted accordingly. It was like the four game winning streak all over again. Lots of running, minimal passing game, no downfield shots of substance.
Here is the thing – Colt McCoy didn’t dazzle in the least bit, but he stayed away from the killer mistakes. No interceptions. No fumbles. No forcing the action. He was taking what the Saints defense gave him, which wasn’t much. Sure he was only 9-16 for 74 yards and the Browns were only 2-11 on third downs, but on none of those failed third downs did McCoy throw one into triple coverage. He played smart football; exactly what he should be doing.
How many times did we see Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace put a throw up for grabs when they were captaining the S.S. Mangini? Do I even need to mention Derek Anderson? Forcing the action was his forte.
As the PD’s Tony Grossi put it: If you could have heard how loud it was, you would appreciate the no-turnover effort by the offense.
On the flip side, McCoy wasn’t exactly emulating his idol, Drew Brees, either. The offense really didn’t move much, other than the fourth quarter 13 play, 50 yard, all-Hillis, all-the-time drive, which took 7:34 off the clock which produced a field goal. The only pass plays on that drive were a McCoy to Stuckey 12 yarder that was negated by a penalty and the Hills throw back pass to McCoy on a key 3rd and six in New Orleans territory.
But the bottom line is McCoy was the QB on the day the Cleveland Browns went to New Orleans and beat the defending Super Bowl champions 30-17. You can argue that it was the defense and the genius of special teams coach Brad Seely that won the game for the Browns and nobody will disagree with you. But what cannot be overlooked is the error free football played by a rookie QB who wasn’t supposed to even sniff the field in 2010.
Many have already tweeted and emailed me that if healthy, Delhomme or Wallace will return as the starter after the bye week against the New England Patriots. Why? Now with two starts under his belt against two of the best teams in the league, why not give the kid more opportunities to prove himself? After the Pats and the New York Jets come to town, the schedule gets much lighter. Four out of the next five are on the road, but other than the trip to Miami, the rest of the games are very winnable.
Lets give the kid a chance to grow in the job. If he fails, then draft a QB high in 2011. If he doesn’t than you can load up on other need positions (i.e. WR, pass rusher, etc etc).
photo via Joshua Gunter/PD