There were obviously many things that weren’t great about the 2011 Cleveland Browns season. The lack of playmakers on the outside; the myriad of Peyton Hillis fiascos; the injury bug; the horrific at times special teams play. But this was a young team with a first-year head coach in Pat Shurmur, who at times looked a little in over his head.
On Sunday, the PD scribes took their shots at what went wrong, what went right, and what they look for 2012. Of all of the assertions, facts and figures I read, one thing in particular stuck out and raised a real red flag for me.
Shurmur didn’t have a full offseason of OTA’s, training camp, or even the ability to talk with his key offensive players about the new scheme he was installing. With a second- year QB in Colt McCoy being anointed the guy, it wasn’t going to be an easy task for the kid from Texas to learn on the fly. Ah, but the backup QB was none other than Mike Holmgren’s handpicked guy, Seneca Wallace, who had run the West Coast offense in his years with Seattle. He learned from “The Big Show” himself after all. Conventional thinking was Wallace was the perfect guy to help McCoy along.
That wasn’t to be true. As Mary Kay Cabot told us all Sunday:
Seneca Wallace, well-versed in the WCO, refused to mentor him (McCoy) because he wanted the starting job himself.
Reading that disgusts me. I thought football was a team sport. Sure, every guy wants to be “the man.” But was Wallace really under the impression that he had a legit chance to be the starting QB here with the team obviously invested in the development of McCoy in 2011? Colt showed some promise, leadership, and smarts as a rookie pressed into action a year earlier. Instead of helping, according to Cabot, Wallace was too busy worrying about himself.
McCoy has never played in this type of offense before. Not until the lockout was lifted was he able to get familiar with the schemes or even see a playbook. It was clear at points of the season that McCoy just wasn’t comfortable. Whether it was the fact that he was out of his comfort zone, didn’t have a running game to help him, or was busy running for his life behind a patchwork right side of the line, Colt just never seemed to click for most of the season.
It’s clear that the Browns aren’t completely sold on him, nor should they be, as both Holmgren and GM Tom Heckert refused to name him the clear starter for 2012. They are said to be heavily scouting the likes of Robert Griffin III from Baylor and Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M. If the Browns indeed skip on a QB early in the draft, Wallace clearly believes he has a clear shot to become the Browns full time starter in 2012 . And if that’s the case, they are in deeper trouble than we thought.
Wallace is a backup at best. Pure and simple. When he comes off the bench for a game or two, he can have his moments. But play the guy long term and his deficiencies are going to get exposed. He is entering his 10th NFL season and has yet to be a full time starter. There is a reason for that. I just find it disturbing that he was potentially undermining his own teammate. You would think that Wallace would know who he is at this point in his career.
Now to be fair, this post is taking the quote from Mary Kay Cabot as the gospel, but you certainly haven’t heard anything to the contrary coming out of Berea. That said, if it is true and the Browns do take a QB in the first round, do you really want a me-first guy around your QB of the future?