Picturing the under-sized, inexperienced Colt McCoy emerging from the tunnel onto Heinz Field and into the lair of the Steelers and their vaunted defense this Sunday, just one thing comes to mind:
Dead man walking.
It wasn't supposed to happen this way. McCoy was supposed to spend his first NFL season on the sidelines, observing and learning from the team's veteran quarterbacks who were to be holding his place and mentoring him until he was ready to go.
While he's probably pretty fortunate that he can no longer learn anything from Jake Delhomme, that doesn't change the fact that McCoy is being thrown to the lions long before he was projected to be ready for that, and perhaps worse, long before he expected it to happen.
It has to be tough to muster up the courage to go out there fighting when everyone around you is shaking their head and thinking you've essentially been sent on a suicide mission.
Still, there's something about Colt McCoy that makes you wonder if there might not be a little more to this. Something about Colt that makes you think he just might be a good candidate for surprise success. Someone who, not unlike Cleveland teams in general, might choose the very moment where failure seems imminent to orchestrate a shockingly successful endeavor.
Of course, no one is suggesting that McCoy will come out on Sunday and throw for 400 yards and four touchdown passes, go undefeated in his remaining regular season starts and then march the Browns right to the Superbowl.
But maybe, just maybe, whether the Browns win or lose, Colt McCoy will be surprisingly good.