Colt McCoy: Cleveland Browns QB's Performance Not so Easy to Judge

Joe HunleyContributor INovember 9, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 30: Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns drops back to pass against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on October 30, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

It is amazing the amount of criticism that Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy receives from authors of  blogs and numerous media outlets via the Internet.

Rarely can an article be written about the Browns without an attempt by the author to throw McCoy under the bus.

Sportswriters question his arm strength and ability to read defenses. They say the game is too fast for him and he has "happy feet." By reading many of these articles, one can get the impression that if the Browns had a quarterback such as Andrew Luck, the offense would be much more productive.

Reality is—with the offensive line, receivers and running backs at the Browns' disposal, any quarterback would be running for his life.

Watching the Browns offense, it is painfully apparent that there are many positions that need to be addressed. The offensive line is not giving McCoy time to throw and is an open doorway for defenders en route to sacking, knocking down or forcing McCoy to scramble outside the pocket.

Due to injuries to Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty, the Browns have no running attack, leaving McCoy to beat the opponent through the air—this is not going to happen. Browns receivers are having a hard time getting open, gaining little separation with an overall lack of playmakers.

Even though it is easy to blame the quarterback when the offense seems dysfunctional, McCoy is not exempt from ridicule, as he is a major part of the offense.

Last season's confident young quarterback who seemed to be having fun performing has been replaced by a quarterback that bails out of the pocket quickly, seems jittery, overthrows, underthrows and often does not see when a receiver does gain separation.

Given McCoys' performance, it is easy to see why fans and sportswriters are questioning his ability to be a starter in the NFL. However, with injuries to key offensive players and the state of the offensive line, is it a true reflection of McCoy's ability?

The jury is still out on McCoy—it is hard to determine his ability with the obstacles that he faces. A lack of playmakers, key injuries and bad play-calling can often make much-heralded quarterbacks play beneath their capabilities—just ask Sam Bradford.

Sam Bradford, quarterback of the St. Louis Rams, is having a less-than-stellar year. This Heisman Trophy winner was the 2010 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Bradford is suffering from protection breakdowns, a lack of playmakers at receiver (although they did acquire Brandon Lloyd) and is being roughed up constantly.

Bradford trails McCoy in passer rating, touchdowns, passing yards and completion percentage. Bradford also has five more sacks than McCoy, even with Bradford missing two games due to injury. One benefit Bradford has that McCoy does not—a running game.

This is not to compare the abilities of Bradford and McCoy—it is merely an example of how injuries, lack of playmakers at receiver and the failure of the offensive line can affect the quarterback's performance.

I am not totally sold on McCoy. He has shown some bright spots and some not so bright. The failure of the Browns offense cannot be placed totally on the offensive line, receivers, running backs or the quarterback.

With the numerous injuries the Browns have suffered, the lack of playmakers, the nonexistent running game and at times questionable play-calling, it is hard to judge McCoy fairly.

I have not seen enough of McCoy with a decent supporting cast to determine one way or the other—have you?