Pity is the predominant emotion when it comes to rookie Colt McCoy making his NFL debut tomorrow at Heinz Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Know who doesn’t feel sorry, though? That would be Colt McCoy.
And why should he doubt himself, or feel bad for his situation? The guy’s been a winner his whole life – on and off the field – whose always made the most of his opportunities.
McCoy was a school boy legend in Texas, then went on to set a bunch of records at the University of Texas and have his jersey retired. Not to mention, he’s also saved a guy’s life and has a super hot wife.
So enough feeling sorry for this guy, because I’m sure he doesn’t mind the way his life has played out up to this point. Instead, let’s focus on 5 things that could alleviate some of the pressure off Colt’s shoulders when he takes on the Steelers and their 4th ranked defense.
1. Run the football.
OK, so that’s easier said than done against the Steelers defense, particularly when you consider that Browns running back Peyton Hillis is coping with a thigh injury and the Steelers have limited three very good running backs – Michael Turner, Chris Johnson, and Ray Rice – to a combined 96 yards on the ground.
All that doesn’t bode well for the Browns, but I’m obligated to list it as number 1 since an effective running game is every young QB’s best friend.
2. Throw the ball on early downs.
I doubt the Browns are going to be able to line up and successfully pound the football 35 times against a Steelers defense that forbids you to run the football. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I’m 99 percent sure it won’t happen.
Instead, the best that offensive coordinator Brian Daboll can hope to do is to set up the run with the pass. Throw the football on the early downs and hope to create some 3rd and manageables to help McCoy out.
3. Utilize a 3-step passing game.
Simplify the decision making process for Colt and get the football out of his hands quickly with some short, easy throws.
Give McCoy some confidence with some easy completions out of the gates.
4. Get Colt out of the pocket.
Make no mistake about it: Colt is not your prototypical pocket passer. He’s a shade over 6 feet tall, and if he sits in the pocket tomorrow against the Steelers, bad things are probably going to happen.
The best thing for Daboll to do against the Steelers is to play to Colt’s strengths. Utilize his athleticism and create some throwing lanes by getting him outside of the pocket and on the edge.
5. More Flash.
The Browns desperately need to incorporate the Flash package with Josh Cribbs tomorrow against the Steelers, and they desperately need to get some results.
Here’s hoping that Daboll gets creative and Cribbs brings his A game.