Since I am so involved in the sports world now, I have formed some clear opinions of the kind of media and criticism that I like and don’t like. I am officially over the whole kind (usually reserved for Sunday morning TV) where a guy stakes his reputation guaranteeing something and then ending it with some confident unoriginal catch-phrase like “LOCK IT UP!” Maybe that makes me a coward, but I think if anything it is more of an admittance that I don’t have any special powers at predicting the future. All that being said, you can count me in the shrinking minority of people who actually thinks Colt McCoy has a chance to beat out Brandon Weeden to be the Browns’ starting quarterback this year. I believed that even before Mike Holmgren said that there would be some competition in training camp. I still believe it right now.
I don’t think McCoy will be favored. I think the Browns will do almost everything in their power to push Brandon Weeden into the spot. That makes the burden of proof for McCoy that much higher a hurdle to jump. All the same, I just don’t find Brandon Weeden to be a lock to grasp the offense and run it the most efficiently as a rookie no matter how mature he might be.
Brandon Weeden has an advantage over McCoy in terms of the quarterback raw skillset. He has the height to keep from throwing the ball into the outstretched arms of defensive linemen like McCoy seemed to do so frequently last season. He has the arm strength to get the ball to those outside receivers who seemed underutilized in favor of dump off targets and relief routes with McCoy at the helm a season ago.
For all Colt McCoy’s supposed physical shortcomings, I thought the mental side of the game was the hardest part for him a year ago. It is reasonable to question whether or not Colt McCoy can make all the throws. I’m not ready to say definitively that he can’t. I know last year he was so uncomfortable with the offense as a whole for any number of reasons that he wouldn’t make the throws. I firmly believe that given a re-built offensive line and a running back who can actually play, Colt McCoy could and would do better though.
That’s the crux of my argument here. I’m not advocating that they start forming the Colt McCoy bust for his entrance into the Hall of Fame. I’m equally not ready to call Colt McCoy a flat out bust. I’m certainly not ready to guarantee that Brandon Weeden – a guy who has never seen the offense after playing in the Big 12 with a supremely talented receiver – will be ready to step into the NFL game week one. And we also don’t know if he’ll be ready to supplant a guy who hasn’t stopped thinking about Pat Shurmur’s version of the West Coast Offense ever since he regained his faculties after the James Harrison hit.
The deck will be stacked against him, and there are legitimate arguments to be made about which outcome would be the absolute best thing for the Browns. I just don’t know yet. LOCK IT UP!