Couch or Holcomb. Anderson or Quinn. Frye or Dilfer. Delhomme or McCoy. Such was the life of the Browns fan during pre-seasons past. Who would step up and be the quarterback? Which of the crappy options would be “best”? Who was keeping the seat warm for whom?
I’m not here to say Colt McCoy is on his way to the Pro Bowl. What I am here to say, however, is that McCoy clearly is the starting quarterback for this team, for 2011. He’s the leader. He’s the guy with the best handle on the new offense. He’s the guy the other guys follow.
And man, is it nice not to be talking about the quarterback this year.
I will freely admit: I had NO IDEA who was going to be the quarterback in the fourth quarter. I knew it would be Colt in the first, Seneca for the second and third, and then… Jarrett Brown? I know I haven’t been as completely immersed in the Browns this summer because of the lockout, but when he came in (and promptly threw a horrible interception) I was flashed back to nights of saying, “I’m curious to see how Josh Booty does,” or “Man, that Luke McCown has an arm!” in these first pre-season games.
Not this year.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that the Packers’ first-team defense was the same one that won the Super Bowl; teams are notorious for throwing out “vanilla” defenses in the pre-season. Even still, it’s hard to look past Colt McCoy’s night. 9-for-10, 135 yards, and a TD. 152.1 rating. He looked sharp. He knew where the ball needed to go. His throws weren’t always perfect (the seam route to Ben Watson, for example, was more a great play on the ball by Watson than a great throw), but I never felt like he was forcing something that wasn’t there. The TD throw to Cribbs was perfectly placed.
In short, McCoy had command of the offense, both in terms of scheme and in terms of the players on the field. And that is a nice bonus to have this year.
It was clear that McCoy has a better hold of the offense than does Seneca Wallace. This is not a knock on Wallace; it’s a commentary on McCoy and how hard he’s clearly worked.
Most of all, it was just nice to turn to my wife and say, “I’m so glad we don’t have to hear about who the quarterback is, will be, or should be.” As Jake Delhomme showed against Green Bay last season, first-pre-season-game offensive excellence does not translate to regular season success. But, it can’t be over-stated how nice a change it is this year to know that McCoy’s our starter, there’s no real debate, there’s nobody waiting in the wings down the depth chart for the fans to clammor for at the first sign of a rough patch. Hopefully the Browns can use that continuity to build some strength across the offense as a whole.
As the pre-season continues, it will be interesting to see if McCoy continues to build on Saturday’s performance. One thing is for sure, however: we won’t have to debate which quarterback was better or would give the team the best chance to win. For once, it’s was pretty clear-cut.
Photo Credit: Joshua Gunter/Cleveland Plain Dealer