After eight games into the season, it is painfully obvious that the Cleveland Browns won’t be making the playoffs or even challenging for a Wild Card spot. While the defense has done its best to keep the team in games, the offense is in shambles. Running backs Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty are injured and now Mohamed Massaquoi - the Browns’ supposed No. 1 wide receiver – has just sustained his second concussion of the season.
That being said, it is no wonder that quarterback Colt McCoy is not having a stellar season. His stats are slightly deceiving – 1,764 yards, ten touchdowns, six interceptions – because many of his yards come in garbage time. What is most surprising, though, is McCoy’s 57.5% completion percentage.
It is very easy to place blame on a quarterback, no matter his surroundings. For McCoy, he isn’t completely exempt from ridicule (and, really, how many quarterbacks truly are?), but it is absolutely necessary to consider those playing around him. He is operating with a glaring lack of playmakers and it would appear that his receivers are having trouble getting separation and staying open.
That, of course, isn’t helped by the fact that the offensive line is giving McCoy no time to throw. The confident young quarterback has been replaced by a jittery, unsure quarterback who bails on the pocket early. Not only is McCoy being beaten down physically, but there is the chance that this is taking a mental toll on the young quarterback as well.
Consider this season a wash. Next year will be the proof of Colt McCoy’s resolve. The NFL is a league that functions without patience; teams and fans want immediate returns. But at this point, that does this team no good. It’s nearly impossible to make a true judgment of Colt McCoy right now. Not only is this his first full season as a starter (a mulligan for most quarterbacks), he is on an offense that feels like the offense of an expansion franchise.
The Browns have two first-round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft. It is very likely that one or both of them will be spent on offensive playmakers. That will also be Colt McCoy’s second year at the helm. There’s no denying that things are bad now, but next season paints a much more realistic picture of how we can all judge McCoy and his future.
Sometimes, a quarterback needs to go through a painful first season (or two). It’s understandable to be upset about the word patience because it’s been pushed on Browns fans since 1999, but this is a time where it truly needs to be stressed.
Believe it or not, the Browns are heading in the right direction and Colt McCoy can be at the center of that development. Being angry at Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert might work on a surface level, but one must consider how well the current front office is drafting. Giving them time to draft playmakers on offense, as they’ve already done on defense, will pay off in the long run.