August 1, 2014

Mayock, RGIII, and the West Coast Offense

Kudos to the PD’s Mary Kay Cabot who scored an interesting interview with the NFL Network’s draft expert Mike Mayock about the Browns, their QB position, and the kid that seems to be universally loved both on and off the field, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III. Mayock was an open book on how he feels about RGIII the player and RGIII the man off the field. He also had some very strong feelings about how the Browns should handle the entire situation.

Mayock had so much to say, I want to tackle some of these quotes one by one.

“As much as I like Colt McCoy, I still think they have to look to upgrade that position and I think they have to do whatever it takes to get there,” said Mayock of grabbing Griffin. “If it’s me, yeah, I’m looking at that real hard. I want to go get RG3.”

There is no doubt in my mind that Mayock is correct here. I am one of the Colt McCoy defenders, but in this league, if you look at the top teams in the league, nearly all of them have a top tier QB. This is not news to anyone. The two Super Bowl teams – the Giants and the Patriots – have Eli Manning and Tom Brady at the helm. Both are studs. The Packers were 15-1 with NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers under center. The Saints won the NFC South with former MVP and new single-season passing yards record holder Drew Brees. The Steelers have two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger. Do I need to go on? Sure, you can show me Alex Smith of the 49ers or Joe Flacco of the Ravens, but those teams are carried by their top notch defenses. This is a QB driven league and the Browns currently don’t have one who would rank even in the top 20.

In terms of RGIII, the player, how can you not be tantalized by his talents. Even as a Freshman, he was on radar screens all over the country because of his amazing athleticism and ability to make something out of nothing; something Roethlisberger has done to the Browns and other teams for years. In terms of doing “whatever it takes” to trade up and get him, I’m not sold. The Browns have so many holes – QB is obviously one of them – and having three picks in the top 37 coupled with Tom Heckert’s solid drafting the past two seasons, I’m of the opinion that they are better off signing QB Matt Flynn in free agency and drafting skill position players with at least two of their top three picks.

 “If Cleveland moves up to get this kid, they have to make this kid comfortable. He’s too explosive and too much of a playmaker to have him just sit there and read the triangle the West Coast offense is. In other words, (new offensive coordinator) Brad Childress and that group of coaches in Cleveland is going to have to change some things to make this kid the playmaker he is.”

And this is where my concerns about drafting RGIII come in. Like McCoy, Griffin has spent his entire college career in the spread offense playing out of the shotgun. The Browns, as we know all too well, are completely married to the West Coast offense. This is Mike Holmgren’s system, his baby. He has a head coach in Pat Shurmur who was raised under the principle. His new offensive coordinator is Brad Childress, a former Head Coach and WCO disciple. Both come from the Andy Reid tree and Reid honed his craft under Holmgren.

McCoy had success as a rookie when he had a strong running game and was able to get out of the pocket and make things happen on the run. In his first year in the WCO, he struggled. Some of it can be blamed on the lack of highly skilled receivers. Some can be attributed to the league making adjustments with a “book out” on McCoy. The porous play of the offensive line and lack of running game clearly had a lot to do with it too.

I saw an offense ill-suited for McCoy’s strengths. I think almost everyone who watches Browns football could pick that up. They rarely, if ever, put McCoy back in the shotgun and let him do his thing. Now the Browns are considering drafting a QB who played in the exact same type of offense McCoy did in college and trying to mold him into their system?

My biggest concern about the Browns and RGIII is the rigidity of the coaching staff. Nobody knows what will happen, but I think the West Coast Offense would neuter him. I am not interested in watching Griffin fade back and throw four- yard crossing routes. The Holmgren offensive thinking to me is “my way or the highway.” It was not a coincidence that McCoy struggled in year one of the WCO. He isn’t that kind of QB.

Neither is Griffin.

When the Panthers selected Cam Newton last season with the #1 overall pick, they catered their offense to him. His strengths were maximized. Sure, putting RGIII into the West Coast system and making him into their kind of QB could work, but it also could turn into a colossal failure. While Flynn is far from a sure thing, he sat and learned the West Coast Offense behind Aaron Rodgers for four years. He certainly fits the Holmgren/Shurmur/Childress mold.

Mayock shared some of my concerns with RGIII in this offense as well.

 “He doesn’t throw with anticipation, mostly because he doesn’t have to,” said Mayock. “In that offense, there’s minimal footwork and they spread it out so wide. He’s got some talented, gifted receivers, and he’s got great touch and accuracy in medium and deep (throws). He’s got arm strength, he’s got athletic ability, he takes hits, but he doesn’t anticipate throws.

“The more tape I put on of this kid, the more fun I have watching him. I was pleasantly surprised by his pocket awareness, his eyes down the field, and his physical toughness is outstanding. He takes a lot of hits and it doesn’t bother him. All of those things mean a lot to me. And again, the one “however” piece of it is just that he’s going to have to learn to anticipate and get the ball out of his hands more quickly so he doesn’t continue to take those kind of hits.”

That has to be a concern in the WCO where the throws are so much about timing. But you have to love the toughness aspect of Mayock’s comments. He would need it if he came to play here, judging by how McCoy spent most of 2011 running for his life.

There is no doubt that the Heisman Trophy winner has that “it” factor that the Browns fans would love.  But I am of the opinion that the Browns shouldn’t deal both of their first round picks to move up two spots to get him and its not because I don’t like him as a player. It’s has everything to do with the fact that I believe the Browns brass and coaching staff is so deeply entrenched in the West Coast offense that his immense talents would be wasted. They need a wide receiver, a right tackle, linebackers, another corner, a safety, AND a QB.

That screams for keeping the picks at #4 and #22.

(photo via Getty Images)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=739945469 Lee Stover

     i really like barkley. if we get mccoy the protection and weapons he needs and still doesn’t cut it, then barkley is someone to think about for sure.

  • Go Bucks 1

    Drops aren’t strictly the WR’s fault! In a timing offense that is predicated on running after the catch, if a qb is late with his reads, doesn’t throw with anticipation, and doesn’t have the arm strength to get it there, the WR isn’t able to do anything after the catch. How do we know McCoy didn’t have any weapons? Maybe the Browns had more weapons then people realize, but didn’t have a QB capable of getting them the ball!!!!

  • Big Z

    1) 
    I’d be all for this if Griffin gets snatched-up, but I’m not so sure they’ll find a partner unless he’s still on the board. Maybe they could find a partner for Blackmon? 

    2) I know the Browns are really bad, but they can’t just assume they’re always going to be in position to draft a franchise QB. They have the opportunity to get one now, but they may not next year. 

    3) I know it’s hard to reference any Baylor QBs, but look at the last few highly touted USC QBs to enter the league: Palmer, Leinart, Sanchez… yuck.

    4) If the Browns finish with a losing record this season, that would give them five straight losing seasons in a row: a first in the history of the franchise. Better do somethin’ quick!

  • Henry Brown

    Nothing spells Super Bowl like competent QB!

  • floydrubino

    Teams knew that they could crowd the box because colt can’t make certain throws. How many times did colt miss down field throws where people have blown coverages. You play with whatever players you have and colt was not a threat enough to punish people when they put 8,9,even 10 in the box. Colt might grow into a good quarterback but I want more than a good quarterback and if RG3 is a franchise type guy I don’t want to pass on that. So you’re saying that unless our team is loaded across the board keep mccoy and what I’m saying is that great quarterbacks make up for things that are unrealistic. It is unrealistic to have a loaded team every year and be great. consistently. When you have franchise qb’s you ride their career and win with them because they bring out the best in people. So Colt Mccoy has already proved that teams don’t respect him enough and load up against him and he doesn’t punish them for this. 

  • floydrubino

    I agree and how many times did he hold the ball too long and not take the check down quicker to allow the receiver to make a move in the open field. When you don’t throw it to them quick enough the defender is on him without any room to make move. You need to have great players around you but if people think that colt mccoy elevated the players around him your wrong. Seneca Wallace who is just awful looked the same as him. Colt Mccoy might turn into a decent qb but I want a franchise qb that you don’t have to put 7 all pros around him to get any production.

  • floydrubino

    so your willing to waste another season and be the worst in the league to get him. How do you assume that we can just get barkley. So your plan is to go 2-14 next year to wrap this deal up.

  • floydrubino

    Name any quarterback that has left cleveland and had success. The lines haven’t been phenomenal but joe thomas is the best in the biz so don’t blame the line completely.

  • floydrubino

    does anyone know if ben grubbs or eric steinbach has played right guard in their career. If we sign grubbs and pick a right tackle in the 2nd,3rd, or 4th round we would have grubbs and steinbach on either side with pinkston at right tackle with luvauo at depth at guard. The right tackle in the draft might even start over pinkston and we could have pinkston for depth.  We would have a top 5 o-line in the league with grubbs. Steinbach concerns me because I think having a dominant guard is important in the running game and steinbach is great but his health is a concern. If Steinbach is healthy with grubbs we would be dominant. Baltimore will have to franchise ray rice so we could get grubbs maybe and weaken the ravens.

  • Browndogs

    Come on guys, how in the hell do you blame the QB when you have to learn a new offence without a training camp while you can’t communicate with FO. Then your best receiver is a rookie. Your best running back has the Madden disease and you don’t have a right offensive line. Now you guys want RG3? First build the —-en team then get your QB. Lee I agree with you 100%

  • Advisor

    I agree Mallet had the best arm coming out of college after watching him in the Sugar Bowl. If those passes are not dropped then they are up by 14 and not down by 14 to the Buckeyes. The only negative on Mallet is he runs like a Giraffe.

    You mentioned BJ Coleman and I will look into that after this.

    I like Weeden because he could be a star in 2 or 3 years and have a good 7 year career.

    We take 1st round – RB – Richardson, then a DE – pass rusher,

    then Weeden 2nd round

    then a OT – pass blocker 3rd round

    I am sure we will have  a 9 win season in 2 years and 11 or 12 win season in 3 years.

    Hillis has 2 more years left tops. Weeden is old but good for at least 7 years.

    We draft like I just said and we will be competing in years 2 through 5.

    Book it.

  • Henry Brown

    How do you keep making excuses for someone when A Dalton and C Newton not only didn’t have a camp, they didn’t even have a NFL start.

  • Henry Brown

    What did he win? Oh yeah, another legendary one name ending to a game.

  • Henry Brown

    Are you for real? Eli was the number overall first pick for a reason. He’s also 6’4″ can make throws to anywhere on the field and has the calm, cool mentality to be an NFL QB. Colt McCoy has never stayed healthy, panics if there’s a D lineman within 10 feet of him and throw 5 yard out passes with air under them.

  • Henry Brown

    Yeah our biggest need is QB. After that RT, WR, and DE. that’s 4 whole players. What the hell are we going to do?????????????? THE PIECES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Henry Brown

    Ignorant comment…do not play along.

  • Scottyb224

    One thing we learned about Colt McCoy this past year; He’s a tough son of a gun for taking all those hits.  I think all young QBs deserve the chance to develop and grow with the team that is around him.  So many rookies are given that one year to “take their lumps.”  Because Colt isn’t technically a rookie, we don’t give him that chance?  Well McCoy only played part time his rookie year and BEAT the Steelers (something the Browns haven’t done in 8 years).  He had to learn a new system this past year, which in my book means a do over of his rookie season, which means he has officially taken his lumps.  Everyone is a year older on the team, but now everyone has yet another Offensive coordinator to gel with.

    All this reminds me of how highly touted Tim Couch was coming out of college and how the “Win Now or get out of town” mentality of the cleveland “faithful” forced him to deal with five O.C. in four seasons.  Any wonder how that pattern led to the lack of success?

    I say: In Mike Holmgren I trust.  I’ll be pulling for the Dawgs next season no matter who’s under center, but I believe Colt McCoy deserves one more year to prove himself, and the front office should cater the offense to his strengths.

  • http://twitter.com/Cornerss william

    Sounds like they would be better off trading out of the #4 pick, and getting extra picks. Setting your team up really nicely.

  • http://twitter.com/Cornerss william

     could just as easily call it the browns fault for ruining those qb’s. Im sure having issues about getting killed by LB/de’s doesn’t help their qb instincts after leaving the browns.

    Just like getting blind side blocked,or smashed catching a ball across the middle. After that , people can get jittery. Just like getting smashed in the face with a baseball can effect you taking your eyes off the ball in the future.

  • http://twitter.com/Cornerss william

     and palmer got them how many playoff wins? Maybe 1?

  • http://twitter.com/Cornerss william

     those could be 3 starters though,even possible pro bowl players with 3 picks in the top #118. In fact, you could trade out of 4 and pick up another couple picks.

  • http://twitter.com/Cornerss william

     its not that it cant be tailored for him,hes saying he doesn’t think this coaching staff is flexible no matter who the qb is.Even pointing out Mccoy came from same college system, and things weren’t adapted for Mccoy’s strengths.

  • http://twitter.com/Cornerss william

     At least with the Phins, no matter who the qb is, will have lots of weapons and a decent O-line if he goes there. The dolphins receivers are underrated because of a lack of a real qb

  • http://twitter.com/Cornerss william

     the rams beg to differ.

  • Down with Brown

     How did Sam Bradford raise the level of play around him this year?  53% Completions and a 1 to 1 int/TD ratio?  All that with a healthy Steven Jackson.  If Bradford can’t do it, how can you expect McCoy to?  I know the answer that both teams were learning a 2nd offense in two years with no offseason, a rash of injuries, McCoy was down to a practice squad back, Robiskie was outright released, 2 basic rookies on the O-line, Massaquoi is a 3rd receiver on any team and was out all shortened camp, that left a rookie wideout that didn’t play the year before and is a converted RB and Cribbs a special teamer and Converted QB.  So why are 5 of the teams picking in the top ten teams that recently spent a first round pick on a QB including one before us that drafted 1st overall?  Their teams have no talent and none of them that I am aware of had to give the farm up for them.