This is Cleveland, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, home to some of the most brutal weather in December and January. Lake effect snow streaming off Lake Erie combined with cold gusting winds, can affect the performance of the most seasoned veteran quarterbacks.
The Cleveland Browns have a young quarterback by the name of Colt McCoy, who has started five games this year and has impressed fans, the media, coaches and team president Mike Holmgren.
There are reasons why Holmgren would have questions about McCoy; this is Cleveland, not Austin, Texas.
Colt McCoy is on the sidelines with an ankle sprain suffered in the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and may not play again this season. When asked about his desire to see McCoy play in December, Holmgren stated:
"I would like to see him in these conditions, first of all, but I don't believe we're going to play him unless he's 100 percent with his leg," Holmgren said. "But, absolutely, if you're going to play in Cleveland or Green Bay or Pittsburgh...any place where weather is part of it late...yeah, there are challenges there and you have to find out if you can do it".
There are several highly-touted quarterbacks expected to be in the upcoming draft, Jake Locker, Andrew Luck and Ryan Mallett, to name a few. With quarterbacks of this quality possibly coming out in the next draft, I can see why Holmgren would want to put to rest his questions regarding McCoy. In regards to the Browns draft picks, they could be spent on more urgent needs than a first-round quarterback, provided McCoy has played enough to answer Holmgrens' questions.
One of the major complaints by scouts is McCoys' arm strength, or supposed lack of, which brings the question. Does McCoy have the arm strength to take on the bitter, gusting winds of winter in Cleveland? Holmgren was asked about his confidence in McCoys' arm strength, and Holmgren responded as follows:
"As he gets older, he'll get stronger and his arm will get stronger," Holmgren said. "But I've seen him make throws—now, there've been a couple where you go, 'OK, maybe not,' —but most of the time he's delivered the ball quite well, so far."
While not being a ringing endorsement, the statement does not show doubt in McCoy's ability either.
The question of how McCoy will respond to the winter weather in Cleveland, and whether he has the arm strength to deal with the bitter winds commonly found in December and January, will likely not be answered this season.
Holmgren's commitment to improving the Cleveland Browns performance and bringing a winning team back to a loyal fanbase is paramount. Without a doubt, Holmgren will draft a quarterback in the upcoming draft; it has been his track record.
In the few games that McCoy has played, he has added excitement and, given a fanbase so desperate for something to cheer about, a reason to be optimistic. McCoy has proven that he can be poised, intelligent and accurate on the field, showing he has leadership ability. Not only have I gained a lot of faith in the kid from Austin, I think Holmgren has also.
Can Colt McCoy play in Cleveland's harsh winter weather?
"I don't think he's been asked to make all the throws yet, particularly in weather. But I think he's going to be OK. I really do," said Holmgren.
Quotes from Cleveland.com.