Cleveland Browns: Are the Browns Overlooking Colt McCoy's Flaws?

Hayden GroveContributor IIIOctober 11, 2011

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 2: Quarterback Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns hangs his head inbeween plays during the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Titans defeated the Browns 31-13. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

This season has gotten off to a decent start for Browns Quarterback Colt McCoy, well at least statistically. 

In four games this season, McCoy is 100-for-172, 58.1 percent completions, with 984 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions. His 43 passing attempts per game average is second in the league behind Drew Brees, and in only four games is ranked 15th in completions.

It's clear that his stats show that McCoy is helping the Browns immensely with his arm, especially with Peyton Hillis and all of his troubles thus far in the season. 

But for all he's done, are the Browns overlooking the things McCoy has failed to do?

At 2-2, the Browns are a win away from being a football team that is over .500 by Week 6. In Cleveland, this is almost unheard of. But should the Browns be 3-1 by now? 

Week 1 against Cincinnati was a big loss for the Browns. Part of the reason the Browns lost that game was the play of McCoy. 

Against the Bengals, McCoy finished 19-of-40 for 213 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, leaving him with a QB rating of 70.1. The Browns started off with a barrage of penalties, but as the game went on, the Browns were more than able to win that game. McCoy's passes were often errant, landing on the ground behind receivers. 

In that game, the defense was as much to blame as the lack of offense, however. They were caught off guard by Bruce Gradkowski who threw what would be the game-winning touchdown to A.J. Green, and allowed for Cedric Benson to rush for 121 yards. The offensive line was of no help either, only helping Peyton Hillis and Browns rushers to less than 100 yards total on the day. 

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 25: Starting quarterback Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns deflects defensive end Kendall Langford #70 of the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Pho
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The win against the Colts was a team effort, which lead to the game against the Dolphins

McCoy struggled mightily against a good Dolphins defense until it counted most. 

He took the Browns down the field during a 2:00 drill and threw the game-winning touchdown to Mohamed Massaquoi with 43 seconds left. He showed poise, leadership and control that you would expect from someone years older than him. He showed that he can be a legitimate quarterback in this league.

Against the Titans, McCoy broke Browns team records with 40 completions and 60 attempts through the air, but the reality is, that although I applaud him for his effort against the Titans, McCoy made a majority of these completions in garbage time. The thing I took away from McCoy's performance against the Titans was a major mistake he made deep in Browns territory. 

The Browns had the ball around the 30-yard line, and McCoy took one out of the pocket and flailingly fired the ball right into the arms of a Titans defensive back, who then returned it for seven points in the other direction. 

It was such a horrible throw and horrible decision that you wouldn't think it came from McCoy. The throw may have been the worst of the year, and maybe his career thus far. 

However, that throw is not going to take away the rest of McCoy's season. 

McCoy has done everything the Browns have asked of him. 

As a sophomore quarterback in the NFL, McCoy has played admirably. He's lead the Browns to a 2-2 record, and is running the West Coast offense very well, completing many short passes, and making smart decision after smart decision. 

Sure he has shortcomings. He's a small quarterback, at around 6'2", and doesn't have a Tom Brady type rocket arm, (I'd compare it to Drew Brees' arm), and is still learning defenses in the NFL. Those shortcomings, however, are not becoming McCoy's identity. His leadership ability and decision-making, as well as his accuracy, are allowing him to become a solid quarterback in the NFL.

I don't think anyone is overlooking or overrating McCoy. He hasn't been compared to the elite quarterbacks in the league, and I think everyone, especially Browns fans, are definitely well aware of his shortcomings as a quarterback. They know he's not playing his absolute best, but they also understand that he is just a few games into the season, and that he has only 12 games in his entire NFL career.

Browns' players, coaches and fans, as well as people around the NFL know that McCoy is playing pretty well for his second year in the league, and that he needs time to develop.

No one is overlooking what McCoy has done wrong, nor are they overstating what he has done right. Pat Shurmur, Mike Holmgren and the Browns have a plan for McCoy, and that plan is right on schedule. If McCoy continues to play like this, he'll be right on track for where he is to go. Just give him time.