Multiple sources are reporting that the Cleveland Browns will start Colt McCoy at quarterback this Sunday against the Steelers. While starting rookie quarterbacks early in their careers is often a precarious situation due to the mental and physical adjustments, the Browns are making the correct decision with McCoy.
While he may not achieve success early on, it is time to throw McCoy to the wolves and allow him to start developing into a starting NFL quarterback. Even if McCoy struggles out of the gate, would the Browns' faithful really rather have a struggling veteran than a struggling rookie? Probably not, and here are a few reasons why.
While Vince Young's stay in the NFL has been a volatile experience the fact of the matter is that when Young has been healthy and in a good frame of mind he has, for the most part, found success. Young's statistics may not be the league's best but he has consistently found a way to win games on a continually mediocre Titans teams.
This is a good sign for McCoy who was Texas' starting quarterback for the four seasons following Young's departure. Also, McCoy is more of a complete quarterback than Young was when he graduated. Young dominated the college game with his legs and arm strength. The faster and more complicated NFL defenses worked to slow Young down early in his career and he has had to develop his accuracy and decision making to be successful.
McCoy is already a very smart quarterback, as well as one of college football's most accurate passers in recent memory. If he can keep his cool in the pocket and adjust to the speed of the pro game, look for the Browns to be successful by only requiring McCoy to make shorter throws.
More and more now college quarterbacks are making the jump to the NFL and having instant positive impacts on their team. A lot of this can be accredited to the evolution of the college game. College teams are progressively relying more and more on their passing attacks and using more complicated offenses than they have in the past.
The early successes of Matt Ryan and Sam Bradford illustrate how the two levels of football are moving closer and closer together in terms of talent and complexity. McCoy had four years of starting experience at Texas so chances are that the offense he was running was very complex by the time he graduated.
Look for McCoy to be just another in a growing list of college quarterbacks to seamlessly make the transition from the college to the pro game.
Colt McCoy is a talented football player. While his arm strength may not match Sam Bradford's and he is not the "perfect" quarterback, his numbers in college were simply too high for him to be revealed as a fraud in the NFL. McCoy played week in and week out against some of college football's best teams and most intimidating defensive players and always found a way to produce.
McCoy was always among college football's most efficient passers and had accuracy ratings that were disturbingly high. Look for McCoy to use his accuracy and conservative decision making to produce early for the Browns. McCoy's lowest season completion percentage in college was 65.1% while his career best was and astronomical 76.2 percent.
McCoy was also able to make a difference using his feet when the passing attack sputtered. Although the NFL is a faster game, McCoy will still be able to use his elusive qualities to by time and stay on his feet which may be the most important part of developing a rookie quarterback.
For the first time in Colt McCoy's life, the young quarterback has something to prove on the national stage. At Texas, McCoy was the undisputed starting quarterback for the entirety of his four-year tenure. This meant that aside from personal motivations McCoy never absolutely had to perform to stay on the field.
With his history of playing well in Texas' most important games look for the extra motivation to light a fire under McCoy coming out of the gate in Cleveland. McCoy has as much experience as any quarterback entering the NFL in recent history and this will help him maintain his composure and focus.
McCoy's combination of extensive experience and new found motivation to keep his starting spot should propel him to work harder than anyone in Cleveland and help him start to turn the franchise around.
Colt McCoy did one thing better than any other quarterback in the history of college football, win football games. McCoy proved time and time again in big games through the conference grind that he is if nothing else, a winner.
McCoy was consistently under center against some of college football's best teams and defenses yet remained unfazed. McCoy won red river rivalry games without breaking a sweat and helped keep Texas in the upper echelon of college football.
In fact, had McCoy not been injured in the game, there is always the chance that Texas could have been the winner of last season's National Championship Game.
All of this means one thing in terms of McCoy's career looking forward. Never count out Colt McCoy. McCoy has proven that he can use his skill set and football IQ to win football games and there is no reason for the trend to end in the NFL.
Colt McCoy will be a successful NFL quarterback, just how successful is more in the hands of Browns management than McCoy at this point.