It’s just pre-season… Colt McCoy, Concussions and Free Agency

Colt McCoy signing autographs

The Browns looked very much like it was their first game of the pre-season this week. There were some good plays, but overall the team seemed to be trying to find their sea legs. As always with the pre-season there was some good and some bad. I was a bit negative about it on Friday night, but as long as it was just a starting point, there were a few good things.

In defense of the bad, the Browns were without Trent Richardson on offense and gave the day off to the likes of Ahtyba Rubin and D’Qwell Jackson on defense. Brandon Weeden fumbled and threw an interception in his short time on the field, but he also tantalized Browns fans with a couple of his passes including a pretty awesome strike to Travis Benjamin that you know Colt McCoy probably (almost definitely) can’t make.

Speaking of Colt McCoy, he did exactly what I thought he should. He showed himself to be more of the gritty playmaker that we saw when he was thrust into the starting spot for Eric Mangini a couple years ago and less of the wide-eyed, terrified guy who was trying to learn a new offense last year. While Colt McCoy didn’t do enough to supplant Brandon Weeden on the depth chart, he kept his name in a few different conversations.

If Brandon Weeden gets hurt or completely fails over the next few pre-season games, Colt McCoy has kept his name in the conversation to start. At a minimum Colt McCoy has kept his name in the conversation as to whom is most capable of being the backup this season. Finally, McCoy made a pretty good case for the Browns should anyone else around the league want to trade for Colt McCoy. The Browns may not favor McCoy right now, but as long as Tom Heckert is around you know he favors draft picks. The way Colt McCoy played Friday, you’d have to think higher (3rd or 4th) than lower (5th or 6th) at least for one week.1

The controversy surrounding Mohamed Massaquoi’s head injury is baffling. The team called it a concussion. MoMass tweeted that it wasn’t a concussion. Pat Shurmur was understandably annoyed at being questioned due to a player tweet contradicting him. After all that though, the Browns are painfully thin at receiver when and if MoMass goes down again. To leave a game with a head injury and not return after taking what appeared to be a somewhat benign hit (at least compared to any of the James Harrison jobs we’ve seen around these parts) it is a real concern for the Browns and their receiver depth.

I like the moves the Browns have made at receiver. Travis Benjamin looks good. Greg Little should be fine. I’m not letting one bad game from Josh Gordon seal his fate, but the Browns could use one legit veteran to take a load off. I certainly am not saying the Browns should go sign Chad Johnson and his distraction level. I’m also not saying they need a washed up guy like Lee Evans who was cut ahead of Brian Robiskie in Jacksonville yesterday. So who? I don’t know for sure, but this would have been a great spot for someone like Plaxico Burress.2

Burress was a red zone threat last year. His biggest days are behind him, but he can still play. The Browns could probably use him more early this season and as the young guys step up and earn their jobs, Burress could play more sparingly and situationally. That’s the kind of arrangement that would work well for the Browns so that they could better compete now, develop at QB, and not stunt the growth of their stable of young receivers.

Also, I’m saying the same thing at linebacker. I don’t know who the veteran is, but the Browns could use one guy. They lost Chris Gocong for the season and Scott Fujita is going to miss the first three games. I know that the Browns want to be young and grow, but adding one veteran guy to make up for the 19 games that Browns existing veterans are guaranteed to miss isn’t a bad thing. There will still be plenty of reps and opportunities for young guys like James-Michael Johnson, Ben Jacobs, Emmanuel Acho, L.J. Fort and Kaluka Maiava to continue to play and get better.

  1. They could always trade Seneca Wallace and his bigger contract too. He played like he normally does. []
  2. He visited the Patriots this week. []
  • Garry_Owen

    You say Brian Robiskie’s available??!! I loved that guy when he was a Buckeye!

  • MrCleaveland

    1. McCoy underthrew that long pass to Jordan Cameron a bit. If he had hit Cameron in stride, Cameron might not have gotten hurt.

    2. Fair or not, you can’t trust a guy who says he doesn’t have a concussion. On top of that, the NFL is getting sued left and right, so the teams have to be extra cautious.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    I know you’re kidding, but in all actuality, Lee Evans is the available one. Robo beat him out and is still with JAX.

  • Garry_Owen

    Yeah, I haven’t been following NFL cuts. I thought you meant the Evans was cut before Robo was cut. Oh well. Lofty dreams fall hard.

  • SDA

    what does that say about the Jags receivers :P

  • Harv 21

    agree about signing a vet WR.

    If this is MoMass’s 4th concussion in less than 2 years, he can no longer safely go over the middle and needs to move on with his life’s work now. I agree, the hit was not major by NFL standards. At some point the young man is a danger to himself and isn’t doing the Browns any favors either. It’s sad for him but with what we know now about successive brain injuries, enough’s enough.

    From what I saw today at camp, Josh Gordon is way out of shape and exhibiting some bad body language. Looks like he’s in the middle of a life-comes-at-you-fast experience and is feeling a little sorry for himself. If we get a vet receiver it might be good to get a solid citizen in that player group.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Not to mention the fact that the definition of a concussion is so vague. MoMass might not have had a lot of symptoms of a severe concussion, but if he was removed from the game and went to the locker room, then, you know, there was something going on that should probably be termed concussion… I am not a doctor, but I’m trying to figure it out as best I can.

  • humboldt

    From what I saw via a bad internet feed, MoMass was slow to get up and showed the hallmark signs of a mild concussion (i.e. slight daze, uncoordination, fencer’s response). Am sure the training staff – more vigilant now than ever before – administered a field test, probably saw a few signals, mild though they might be, and correctly diagnosed a minor TBI.

    I agree with the view above that it’s time for MoMass to move on to his life’s work. Some people are 1. unlucky 2. genetically predisposed to tolerate insults to the brain less well. I fear MoMass meets both criteria.

  • Natedawg86

    Anyone else see that snag over the middle by Cooper…oh man! Prob get a 6th at most for McCoy.

  • WFNY_DP

    I didn’t think it was an underthrow so much as just horribly late. McCoy made the right play: he saw that Cameron was about to uncover the guy underneath, and be open down the seam. But, McCoy waited too long, and as we know his arm isn’t strong enough to make up for it. The second Cameron got a step on the underneath coverage, that ball needed to be on its way to beat the safety help. I thought McCoy made a good throw in that he put it where only his guy could get it. But, because it was SO late, the only place his guy could get it was at the top of an acrobatic leap. Just MHO.

  • WFNY_DP

    I won’t believe a diagnosis until it comes from Colt McCoy’s dad.

  • Garry_Owen

    Yep. Time for MoMass to do what I did at that point: Join the Army.
    I have found that the PTSD counteracts the post-concussion syndrome nicely. I might have a really short-term memory, but the stuff I forget is the waking nightmares (and “honey do” lists). To put it another way: I might be constantly terrified, but I don’t remember it long.

  • MrCleaveland

    Agree on the solid citizen vet. The last thing Gordon, Little, and Benjamin need is a diva or knucklehead showing them the ropes.

  • humboldt

    It’s astonishing how people cheap shot Brad McCoy. I’m no fan, but his advocacy for his son helped the NFL systemically improve its concussion protocol. Mind boggling that people keep dinging him for that.

  • BenRM

    The injuries are crushing my soul

  • mgbode

    wait, that cannot be. I remember numerous arguments that Lee Evan’s 4 receptions from last year could have changed our entire offense :)

  • Bryan

    Re: McCoy, the dude lead the NFL in passer rating after two pre-season games last year, and then really struggled in the regular season. I thought he was fun to watch on Friday, but I thought his style of play (improvising with his feet, i.e. “the gritty playmaker”) is precisely the style of play that won’t translate to the regular season. Mangini cleverly leveraged that style to surpise defenses and get a few wins, but once the league figured it out McCoy really struggled at the end of 2010. Also, we need to remember that he was playing against Detroit’s 2’s and 3’s on Friday…. Grains of salt, my friends.

    Overall, I don’t see how any NFL talent evaluator would change their view of him based on Friday’s performance. My guess is we won’t get more than a 5th for him. If we do, we need to jump on it. If not, I agree that he is a better value than Wallace as a backup.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I think this is all true. One of the reasons I’m cool with letting McCoy go is that I think Thad Lewis could be a solid 3rd QB… maybe even the 2nd QB ahead of Wallace. That’s not an over-reaction to a good performance against 3rd and 4th string guys on Friday either… I have liked him ever since he played at Duke. He was a quality player trying to throw the ball to a bunch of egg-head scrubs and he actually made that Duke team a threat at times.

  • Garry_Owen

    One of those catches went for 246 yards and 3 TDs. We could have used that catch.

  • BenRM

    I wanted to bring that up, too, but didn’t know if anyone would remember.

  • Garry_Owen
  • mgbode

    what the Pete Carroll method of WR training isn’t for you? (Braylon, TO, Winslow to mentor Baldwin, Tate – though he cut Mike Williams)

  • mgbode

    that one was too humorous to forget. I felt bad bagging on an Ohio guy, but he did sign with the Ravens (and for that he deserves that his last NFL play may very well be a TD-drop to prevent Baltimore from having a shot at the Superbowl).

  • MrCleaveland

    Haaa! I was at a game at the old Stadium when Rison was a Brown, and he was standing at midfield gesturing to the crowd, and we were booing him big time.

  • WFNY_DP

    Wasn’t meant as a dig at him so much as a commentary about how sad-sack the Browns were as a top-to-bottom organization that night.

  • Garry_Owen

    I know I’ve told this story here before, but I went to a game at the Muny when Rison was still with the Falcons. At some point in the game, he got injured and they were taking him off the field. At the old stadium, that had to rope off the lower concourse to transport players from the field to wherever they took them. My buddy and I were right on the rope, and when we saw him we both yelled encouragement to him, because we thought that it was cool to see him that close and really hoped he was not seriously injured. As a reward for our kindness, Rison sat up a bit and gave us both the finger. We high-fived then, and we still high-five whenever we talk about that day.