Colt McCoy

Colt McCoy’s performance is bad news for Eric Mangini

The Browns have won two straight. Against the Saints and Patriots, no less. So obviously Eric Mangini’s hot seat is cooling off, right?

Wrong.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy celebrates after a 34-14 win over the New England Patriots on November 07, 2010 in Cleveland. UPI / David Richard Photo via Newscom

Colt McCoy is Mike Holmgren's project

If the Browns had won two straight with Jake Delhomme or Seneca Wallace, that might be an accurate statement. But the fact that they’re winning with McCoy is bad news for Mangini.

Remember, McCoy is Mike Holmgren’s hand-picked quarterback. He went over the heads of both Mangini and GM Tom Heckert to select McCoy in the 3rd round even though he wasn’t the top rated prospect on their draft board.

Mangini’s dislike for McCoy continued into the preseason when kind words about the rookie were few and far between. And after he publicly dressed down McCoy on the field after a preseason loss, local reporters speculated that Mangini may wish to keep Brett Ratliff (Mangini’s hand-picked quarterback) as the 3rd-stringer instead of McCoy.

So you think Holmgren is going to let Mangini reap the benefits of McCoy’s rookie success? HA!

Holmgren loves nothing more than developing quarterbacks. He was Steve Young’s quarterbacks coach at BYU. He was then the quarterbacks coach for both Young and Joe Montana in San Francisco. Then as a head coach he helped develop Brett Favre and later Matt Hasselbeck. And what do all those guys have in common with McCoy? None were 1st-round picks.

And  now you think he’s going to let someone else coach his latest project?

Not a chance.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Browns 6 Comments

Are the Browns making a mistake by starting Colt McCoy?

The only one in the Browns organization that wanted Colt McCoy was Mike Holmgren.

Tom Heckert and Eric Mangini reportedly wanted the Browns to stay true to their draft board which, even at the 85th pick, didn’t have McCoy at the top. But Holmgren pulled rank and drafted McCoy.

BEREA, OH - AUGUST 04: Colt McCoy  of the Cleveland Browns gets ready to throw a pass during training camp at the Cleveland Browns Training and Administrative Complex on August 4, 2010 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Browns may end up regretting starting McCoy against the Steelers

Even after making the selection of McCoy, Holmgren admitted that the plan was for him to spend his rookie season on the bench. Now, due to injuries to Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, McCoy is being thrust into a starting role.

Despite the injury situation, this seems like an ill-conceived plan by Holmgren, Heckert, Mangini or whoever is making the decision to throw a rookie into the fire against the Steelers. McCoy was a disappointment in the preseason and showed no signs of being ready to play in this league.

If he were the only option, that would be one thing, but the Browns recently signed Brett Ratliff who spent the entire 2009 season and the 2010 preseason in Cleveland. Mangini is a fan of Ratliff, who he also coached in New York, and is comfortable with him as a quarterback. So why not give the ball to Ratliff?

There are no expectations for the Browns in 2010, and certainly no expectations in this game in Pittsburgh with a 3rd-string quarterback at the helm. So why jeopardize McCoy’s confidence by throwing him to the wolves – or in this case, Dick LeBeau’s blitzing defense.

If McCoy plays well and leads the Browns to an upset, good for him. It would be a great story. But the odds are stacked against him. Realistically he has more to lose than to gain by playing against the Steelers. This is potentially just the next in a very long line of terrible decisions by one of the NFL’s worst franchises.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Browns 13 Comments

2010 Draft Grades: Browns

The Browns had to be devastated to see Eric Berry come off the board at No. 5 to the Chiefs. It left them without an obvious pick in the 1st round.

Joe Haden was an acceptable option, but a team with so many holes should avoid adding to an area of relative strength early in the draft. Eric Wright and Sheldon Brown are a solid duo of starting corners and, compared to the rest of the team, represent one of the few strengths on the depth chart.

T.J. Ward was a huge reach in the early 2nd round. Since high school his career has been filled with injuries. When healthy, he’s shown the ability to be a future NFL starter, but there’s no reason to believe that he’ll suddenly be able to stay out of the trainers room. It looks as though the Browns reached to fill a position of need.

I have the same criticisms of Montario Hardesty as I do about Ward. When healthy, he looks great. But he just can’t stay on the field. During his career he’s suffered a torn ACL, an ankle sprain and a broken leg. There’s just no reason to believe a running back with a history of injuries will be able to withstand the pounding of the NFL over the course of a 16-game season.

In the 3rd round they finally got their quarterback. While I think Colt McCoy could be a steal in the 3rd round, I’m actually not crazy about the pick. The Browns obviously had no intention of drafting McCoy, and Mike Holmgren hasn’t even tried to deny that fact. They never thought he’d be on the board at No. 85. Based on that fact, I don’t like the selection. If they don’t view McCoy as a potential franchise quarterback [he wasn't even the top player on their board at No. 85] then why take him at all? All this does is potentially dissuade them from spending their 2011 1st-round pick on a true franchise quarterback [Jake Locker? Ryan Mallett? Andrew Luck?].

Shaun Lauvoa was a great pickup in the late 3rd round. The former left tackle has an excellent chance to replace Pork Chop Womack as the starting right guard.

Larry Asante is a potential steal in the 5th round. He’s an ideal strong safety and should be able to contribute immediately on special teams and as Abram Elam’s backup.

I absolutely love the selection of Carlton Mitchell. He’s very raw, but he was mentioned as a potential 3d-round pick entering the draft based on potential alone. He has all the tools necessary to develop into a true No. 1 receiver – a position which the Browns are currently lacking.

Clifton Geathers has a chance to be another late-round steal. He’s a prototypical 3-4 defensive end. Kenyon Coleman and Robaire Smith don’t exactly have a stranglehold on the starting jobs, so Geathers could have an outside shot at winning a starting job before the season is over. That’s a lofty expectation for a 6th-round pick, but I think its a reasonable goal for Geathers.

Overall this was a fairly uninspiring draft for the Browns. If Colt McCoy develops into a future star, we’ll look at this draft as the turning point of the franchise, but the odds are greater that he never plays a game for the Browns. As a 3rd-round pick they have virtually nothing invested in him. They passed over him an injury-prone running back and safety – not exactly giving off the impression that they view him as the answer to their quarterback problems.

Ultimately the most disappointing aspect of this draft is the fact that Browns may not have landed a single player who will be a regular starter in 2010. Even Haden will have to beat out either Wright or Brown. For a team with so many holes to fill, that’s the very definition of a disappointing draft.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Browns, Draft Grades - 2010 1 Comment

10 Bold Predictions for the NFL Draft

10. The Raiders will be criticized for their 1st-round pick
Ok, so maybe this isn’t quite a bold prediction. No one has any idea who the Raiders are going to draft, but I can all but guarantee it will be a reach.

9. C.J. Spiller will be a top-10 pick
And he can thank Chris Johnson for paving the way. The NFL is a copycat league and now everyone wants to the next Johnson. Spiller is an option for the Browns, Raiders and Jaguars. Someone such as the 49ers may also try to trade up for him.

8. Two TCU players will be drafted in the 1st round
Jerry Hughes is all but locked into the 1st round, but his teammate Daryl Washington could join him. He’s a perfect fit for the Colts and Saints and could sneak into the late 1st round. It would be the first time since 1939 that two Horned Frogs went in the 1st round.

7. Bruce Campbell will fall to the 2nd round
Al Davis will consider him with the 8th pick, but he’ll pass. And so will everyone else. Someone will eventually scoop up the most overrated draft prospect to come along in years in the early-to-mid 2nd round.

6. Pete Carroll will reach for someone from USC
Taylor Mays? Everson Griffen? Both could be options for the Seahawks in the 1st round. He may even be tempted to reach for someone like Jeff Byers later on. College coaches are always blinded by familiarity when they move to the NFL game.

5. The Cowboys will draft a WR in the 1st or 2nd round
Motivated by the Redskins acquisition of Donovan McNabb, Jerry Jones will feel the need to bolster his offense. The NFC East could feature a number of shootouts in 2010 and Jones wants to stay ahead of the curve.

4. A  Pro Bowler will be traded
Ronnie Brown? McKinnie? Umenyiora? Roethlisberger?

3. The Steelers will draft a quarterback
Not necessary in the first two rounds, but they’ll grab a signal caller at some point. Maybe Dan LeFevour in the 3rd round? Tony Pike in the 4th? John Skelton in the 5th?

2. There will be at least 5 trades in the 1st round
This could be one of the busiest 1st rounds in recent memory. With so much talent in this year’s class, teams will be motivated to move in two directions. On one hand, some great players will fall and teams will want to move up to grab them. On the other hand, as those great players fall, more good players will be available in the late 1st and early 2nd round.

1. At least 3 quarterbacks will be selected in the 1st round
We know Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen will be 1st round picks. But don’t be shocked when a third comes off the board in the late 1st. The Vikings could take Tim Tebow. The Bills or Browns may also trade up for Colt McCoy.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, 49ers, Bills, Browns, Colts, Cowboys, Jaguars, Raiders, Saints, Steelers, Vikings 95 Comments

Does Roethlisberger’s situation alter Steelers draft plans?

Ben Roethlisberger is 28 years old and already owns two Super Bowl rings. The Steelers shouldn’t be in the market for a new quarterback. But are they?

Its far too early to tell whether or not Roethlisberger will spend time in jail, get suspended or if the Steelers have just grown tired of his off-field antics. But there are enough question marks out there to make us wonder if the Steelers may start to generate a backup plan.

Roethlisberger’s defenders will say that there’s no proof that he’s done anything wrong, and they’re 100 percent correct. However, there’s also no denying that he’s an idiot for even putting himself into these situations. Essentially its become a Pacman Jones situation on a somewhat lesser scale. Like Pacman, Roethlisberger now has a target on his back. The public’s perception of him will influence how he’s treated and how his actions will be viewed from this point forward. For or unfair, that’s the life of a high-profile athlete.

As for how this impacts his future in Pittsburgh, its tough to say. The Rooney family likes to win, but they also run an organization that holds their employees to a higher standard than many others (cough, Bengals, cough). Its within the realm of possibility that they’ll look to move Roethlisberger in the near future depending on how his legal troubles play out.

As of today, the only other quarterback on the Steelers roster is 2008 5th-round pick Dennis Dixon. He’s started just one game in his career (2009 at Baltimore) so its tough to judge his future, but he was less than impressive in that outing. I think its fairly safe to assume that the Steelers don’t envision him as a potential replacement for Big Ben.

Texas v Texas A&M

Could McCoy be headed to Pittsburgh?

With a solid group of quarterbacks in the 2010 draft class, the Steelers would be wise to bring one aboard. It would be shocking to see them take one in the 1st or 2nd round, but by the time the 3rd round rolls around they may consider selecting someone to be groomed as Roethlisberger’s potential replacement.

In our latest mock draft, we have the Steelers selecting Colt McCoy in the 3rd round. It looks like an ideal pairing for both parties. The Steelers need someone who’s capable of starting as a rookie if Roethlisberger misses any time, for legal or injury reasons. McCoy is polished enough to handle playing as a rookie. However, he would benefit from spending the majority of his time on the bench early in his career learning from a veteran such as Roethlisberger.

Other options could include Jarrett Brown, Tony Pike and Dan LeFevour – all of whom should be on the board for the Steelers to chose from in the 3rd round.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, Steelers 13 Comments

Jack Del Rio Questions David Garrard

jaguarsAnother day, another questionable comment from the Jaguars organization.

Yesterday on the Jim Rome show (brought to our attention by the folks as ProFootballTalk), Rome asked Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio if David Garrard is a “Super Bowl-caliber quarterback.” Del Rio responded:

Well that’s a, uh, good question.  I think I would say a quarterback like can be that with a great supporting cast.  You know, I don’t know.  When you look at teams that have won multiple championships, I think they’ve had elite quarterbacks.

That’s not exactly the ringing endorsement you want to hear from your coach when there are already rumors flying around that your franchise may want to bring in a new quarterback in the draft.

Not that contracts mean anything in this league, but Garrard is signed through 2014. How exactly does one go from signing your quarterback to a six-year, $60M contract in 2008, to potentially moving in a different direction in 2010?

Obviously Tim Tebow would be the popular choice to replace Garrard. Well, among those not named Uche, that is. But realistically, what are the Jaguars options?

The one option that may fall into their lap is Jimmy Clausen. While he’s widely considered to have top-10 talent, concerns about his maturity level could cause him to fall. If he’s on the board when the Jaguars are on the clock at No. 11, they should give him some serious consideration.

Another option would be wait to the 3rd round (the don’t own a 2nd-round pick) and grab one of the slew of quarterbacks that are graded in that range. Anyone from Colt McCoy to Tony Pike to Dan LeFevour could be an option there. With any of those guys, the ideal scenario would be let them sit for at least a year under Garrard before taking over.

One other name that may fit nicely in Jacksonville is West Virginia Jarrett Brown. He’ll likely still be on the board when they’re on the clock at No. 74, and he fits the mold of the type of quarterback Jacksonville has liked in the past. Like Garrard and Jaguars legend Mark Brunell, Brown is a mobile quarterback that can buy time with his feel and occasionally take off and pick some yards on his own.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, Jaguars 7 Comments