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Friday, October 31, 2014

Colt McCoy Takes Steps Back to End Season, Losing Franchise QB Status?

Colt McCoy’s NFL career started off on a disappointing note — he wasn’t drafted until late in the third round by the Cleveland Browns, and that was after the Browns said they would take him higher. Colt struggled in the preseason and went into the year as the team’s third stringer. After sitting on the bench the first five weeks of the year, starter Jake Delhomme and backup Seneca Wallace hurt their ankles, leaving McCoy as the only healthy Cleveland quarterback for week six.

Colt had the tough task of facing the Steelers in his NFL debut, but he didn’t play poorly. He had 281 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions against the best defense in the league at the time. McCoy appeared to be a revelation after that; he didn’t turn over the ball his next three starts, leading the Browns to upset wins over the Saints and Patriots, and a near win over the Jets.

McCoy hurt his ankle and missed two weeks, but he returned to start the final three games of the year for the Browns — all losses. He was intercepted three times in back-to-back starts, albeit against the strong defenses of Baltimore and Pittsburgh. It took two months, but McCoy finally began to endure typical rookie struggles. Now the question is whether McCoy is still the franchise quarterback he appeared to be, or just another average quarterback.

Entering the NFL, I never thought McCoy would succeed as a pro, figuring most of his game was based on his dual-threat ability to run and pass. I thought the speed and hard-hitting ability of the defensive players in the NFL would neutralize Colt’s running game, and that McCoy would not blow the league away with his passing ability.

He has shown that he can lead a team each weekend, but his final two stinkers to end the season call into question to what extent McCoy can be “the guy.” After seeing more of him to end the year, Colt appears to be more of a stop-gap quarterback than a future Pro Bowler, leaving Cleveland in the same spot they’ve been for the past 20 years — without a franchise quarterback.

Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images



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