Mike Holmgren knew what he was doing when he drafted Colt McCoy in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. The former Texas Longhorns quarterback joined the Cleveland Browns this year with the expectation that he would back up Jake Delhomme for one season and eventually start the next year.
Injuries to Delhomme would eventually push McCoy to the starter position. In his first game starting for the Cleveland Browns, McCoy demonstrated why he was so highly regarded as Texas' quarterback. Against a tough Pittsburgh defense, McCoy displayed true charisma and instincts and completed over two-thirds of his passes for 281 yards. The Browns lost the game, but McCoy proved that he was ready to step in as a rookie and contribute.
Over the next three matchups, McCoy continued to face tough opponents including the Superbowl Champion New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, and Cleveland Browns. McCoy and the Browns went 2-1 against these three squads.
While McCoy did not star in any of these matchups, he understood that it was not his role. McCoy did an excellent job managing games (a.k.a. handing the ball off to Peyton Hillis) and minimizing interceptions and turnovers.
McCoy has a natural intelligence and comfort level not seen in many rookie quarterbacks. One can just look at Jimmy Clausen as a comparison. McCoy's football IQ is something that several general managers overlooked when constructing their draft boards this offseason.
This past week McCoy had the Browns on the verge of winning their third game in the last four, however, the Browns' defense let up a 75 yard pass to Maurice Jones-Drew with just minutes remaining in the game.
In the next four games, the Browns play the Carolina Panthers, the Buffalo Bills, the Miami Dolphins and the Cincinnati Bengals. These teams have a combined record of 10-30 and the Dolphins have half of those victories.
The Browns may be out of playoff contention, but Colt McCoy has a real opportunity to demonstrate that Cleveland will no longer be the laughing stock of the NFL.
Whether the Browns can turn around their season and finish .500 is uncertain. The fact that Colt McCoy is their quarterback of the future is clear.
Maybe he can finally break the curse that has hovered over this franchise.