I must say that I was impressed with Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy in the few games (eight) that he has started since being drafted by the Browns.
For a rookie, he has shown a great deal of poise, determination and the ability to scramble out of the pocket, making plays "on the run." Although many question his arm strength, he has been accurate on short to intermediate throws.
His command of the huddle, leadership abilities, along with the respect he has achieved from Browns players is a sign of maturity not expected from a rookie quarterback.
Aside from these abilities, his work ethic is admirable, along with his strong belief that he can compete in the NFL.
McCoy, with his belief that he is Cleveland's starting quarterback, is not wasting time preparing for the 2011 season.
"I talk to the coaches regularly. I'm already learning some things over the phone. It's been a real busy month for coach Shurmur trying to hire a staff. I think with coach [Mark] Whipple on board now, things will pick up."
It is refreshing to think that the Browns have found a quarterback that is determined, so much as to have regular discussions with coaches about the upcoming season. One must wonder what McCoy thinks of Browns head coach Pat Shurmur and what Shurmur thinks of McCoy.
"I know coach Shurmur is very brilliant. The time we've spent together, he's told me he's expecting great things for me. He said we're going to grow together and learn together" McCoy said.
Part of this "growing together" will be the addition of the West Coast Offense, or a variation that seems to be the Browns new offensive identity. Many sports analysts have voiced the opinion that McCoy will only succeed in the West Coast Offense, due to their belief that he lacks the arm strenght for a conventional offense.
What does McCoy think of this offensive change coming to Cleveland and his ability to execute in this offense?
"It's a West Coast system," McCoy said. "I think it's a system, from my experience, that we ran a little bit of in college. It's a very quarterback-friendly system. That's what coach Shurmur keeps reiterating to me. He says we're gonna learn it together and be the best together. I think it's real quick, timing, get the ball out of your hands, make good decisions, and it also takes advantage of my ability to make plays with my feet."
One can only be impressed with McCoys thirst to succeed and his work ethic. McCoy also knows of team president Mike Holmgren's past record of taking quarterbacks in the draft.
How would the Browns taking a quarterback in the 2011 NFL Draft "set" with McCoy?
"If we do draft one, that's great. I'll do everything to help him. I'm prepared [to start] and confident and really excited."
McCoy has stated that he will return to Cleveland in February, expecting to have informal workouts with receivers and tight ends. He also expects to get a healthy dose of Shurmur's playbook.
McCoy is firmly going into the 2011 season with the intention of being the Browns starting quarterback. His phone conversations with coaches and holding these informal workouts show a young man who can be classified as a "workaholic."
There are many reasons for McCoy to be optimistic about the upcoming season. Given the definition of the West Coast Offense, it can easily be seen as best suited for McCoy. Shurmur stating that he is expecting great things for McCoy will only add to the young mans confidence.
Shurmur is not the only one who has stated their faith in McCoy.
"When coach Holmgren drafted me, he said I wasn't going to play [as a rookie]," McCoy said. "He said, 'You're my guy. You're gonna be great. But a rookie quarterback doesn't play for me. This is how I want you to learn.'"
McCoy and his thirst for studying playbooks, conversations with coaches and his work ethics are impressive. These qualities, although vital for success, are no guarantee of success. Many individuals with these traits have failed.
Will hard work and dedication prove to be the tool for success for McCoy?
If McCoy has anything to say about it, it will.
Quotes From Cleveland Plain Dealer