It seemed as though no one at this point could be shocked by the announcement that rookie Brandon Weeden has been named the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback. However, one very prominent person seemed to be surprised at the news—fellow Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.
On the heels of the Browns' official statement that Weeden is indeed the starter, McCoy spoke with the assembled media about his feelings of disappointment. So far in training camp, McCoy hasn't worked with the first-team offense (though he did do so in OTAs and minicamp) and said he may have been mistaken to believe that the Browns' front office intended this to be an open competition as they claimed it would be.
McCoy's comments, as reported by Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, indicate he's not at all happy with the team's decision. He opened by saying, "I haven't taken any snaps in walk-through or in practice with the first group," adding, "I thought coming in it would be a competition."
Now, in fact, there's no indication that McCoy will be the team's No. 2 quarterback heading into the season, though he's currently holding that spot on the Browns' first official depth chart of the year. Head coach Pat Shurmur said about the quarterback depth chart on Monday, "The number two position will be determined based on how things play out here in training camp."
In May, during the team's first OTAs, McCoy said that he hadn't asked the Browns for a trade, based on the fact that he had been told the competition for the starting job was open and that he'd get a fair shot. Though Weeden is a first-round pick, there is reason for McCoy to believe that he did indeed have a chance to win that job.
One only has to look to last year's quarterback class for reasons why. Jake Locker still hasn't claimed the starting job for the Tennessee Titans and Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder weren't expected to start until circumstances forced both into the position. Though first-round quarterbacks do have the leg up in competitions, just based on their draft pedigrees, it doesn't guarantee a rookie-year start.
That is, unless that first-round quarterback does exhibit enough talent and enough grasp of the playbook to warrant being named the starter. Clearly, this is what has happened in Cleveland with Weeden, and McCoy had to have known this was a very real possibility.
McCoy's frustration does make sense—at the very least, he would have liked more time to work with the first team and didn't feel like he got enough of a chance to display his talents in the limited time he was with them in OTAs and minicamp.
But apparently, Shurmur and the rest of the Browns' front office had seen enough out of both McCoy and Weeden during those early practices to warrant Weeden getting sole possession of first-team reps.
What McCoy is likely most annoyed with—though it's something he's not going to say outright while still a member of the Browns—is that clearly, the coaching staff and decision-makers never appeared to think that McCoy gives the team the best chance to win and that Weeden does.
It's a blow to the ego, for sure, but certainly McCoy couldn't have been that shocked or taken aback when pulled aside prior to Monday's practice and told he's slid down the depth chart to make way for the Weeden era.
If McCoy is now interested in being traded, he's at least made a convincing argument to the front office that he's worth moving. It's not that any player should be compelled to bite his tongue when facing the media (to a degree), but it's the nature of the comments McCoy made—practically intimating he'd been lied to—that don't ingratiate him to Shurmur, general manager Tom Heckert, team president Mike Holmgren nor the soon-to-be new ownership.
But regardless of how McCoy feels about the decision, it has indeed been made. As Shurmur said on Monday, the Browns have decided on Weeden as their starter and they aren't looking back. And what's back there? McCoy, with an incredulous look on his face, waiting for what may be an inevitable ticket out of Cleveland.