Cleveland Browns: Colt McCoy's Average Play Cost the Browns in the Draft

Derek TalibContributor IIIDecember 9, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 08:  (L-R) D'Qwell Jackson #52, Colt McCoy #12 and Mike Adams #20 of the Cleveland Browns take the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 8, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

 "You are what your record says you are" Bill Parcells. In the NFL close does not count. The Browns fought hard against the Pittsburgh Steelers but the results are the same and the NFL is a win only league. Colt McCoy is 0-8 in the division. 

The Cleveland offense is terrible. Changes will have to be made on that side of the ball in order for Cleveland to compete in their own division. Changes that will include Colt McCoy.

Colt McCoy could not stabilize the quarterback spot so the Browns still have to go out and get a franchise QB.  They will have to bundle their first round picks to move up in the draft to acquire Robert Griffin III. Colt McCoy is not a terrible quarterback, he is a young quarterback

The glaring stats for McCoy are that he is  22nd in passing yards(2,524), 32nd in yards per attempt (5.9), 22nd in touchdown passes (14), 26th in passes of 20+ yards at 26 and 25th on passes of 40+ yards at 5. His completion percentage is 57.7. Stats say that he is a below average quarterback. Injuries kept Colt out of the final games, but his numbers were not going to drastically improve other than adding some passing yards. He cannot stretch the field with his arm. Speed alone is not what gets receivers open deep it is scheme coupled with speed. 

When a team combines an average quarterback with average receivers you end up being 24th in passing yards, and 30th in passes of 20 yards or more. The expectations going into this year were for Colt McCoy to make strides and improve.  The preseason showed promise, but then the team fell back into a series of poor offensive performances.

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 8:   James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackles  Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns during the game on December 8, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Steelers won 14-3.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Cleveland ranks 24th in passing yards per game at 197, behind teams like the Carolina Panthers (260), Washington Redskins (233.3), and Miami Dolphins (201). Colt McCoy alone is not the problem in a bad passing attack, but he undoubtedly is part of the issue. Opposing teams game-plan more for Joshua Cribbs than they do Colt McCoy. Colt is not a weapon and quite simply Robert Griffin III can be.

The Browns have a large enough sample size to determine if Colt McCoy is the answer.IIf Cleveland was not drafting so high Colt might be given yet another chance in Cleveland.  Unfortunately for the Browns Colt's  lack of production is going to cost the Browns their 22nd pick in the first round and more. It There is no way Mike Holmgren can afford to not draft Robert Griffin III. Imagine the Browns faithful watching the quarterback they did not draft lighting it up in Miami or Washington because they want to give Colt McCoy more time. In the worst case scenario the Browns can have both Robert Griffin III and Colt McCoy .   

The Browns have had a long series of poor performing quarterbacks. Tim Couch was the last starting quarterback to led the Browns to the playoffs, and he was a top five pick.  Although Brady Quinn was drafted in the first round he was not a top ten talent. Brady Quinn was later given an opportunity to lead the team only to summarily be benched after poor performance after poor performance. Brady Quinn has developed into a capable back up, but again shows that a lot of times you get what you pay for in a quarterback. Usually red flags are there for a reason.  Brady Quinn did not drop to 22nd in the draft because he was a sure thing. There are no sure things in a draft there are only varying levels of probability.

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 08:  Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns rolls out of the pocket in the first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 8, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

There is more probability that Robert Griffin III will be a franchise quarterback than that he will be a bust, based upon the data, but all the data in the world can still be wrong, but when a team needs a quarterback they have to take that risk. 

Will Colt get better with time? Yes. Will he be allowed to in Cleveland? No.   Fans will say it is not fair, that he does not have receivers, and Peyton Hillis has been hurt, and the line is missing Eric Steinbach, and a whole list of excuses. All the teams in the NFL have injuries, and missing pieces but they have to keep rolling. The Browns front office is not looking for excuses they are to busy looking for a franchise quarterback.

Mike Holmgren  knows where he expects Colt's development to be by this time and  0-8 in the division is not what he or the organization is looking for, especially with the success of other young QBs in the league. 

The problem for the Browns is that as they dig themselves out of the hole other teams in the division get better too. The Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals all have improved rosters and are not sitting around waiting for Cleveland to grow and develop. Look for Cleveland to make a big move whether it is through free agency or the draft to jump start the franchise.

They have a good coaching staff in place, solid front office, and have added some talent through the draft recently, but they are light years away from making a dent in their division. They have to aggressively fill in the gaps in their roster. Unfortunately for Colt McCoy he may be a casualty of that talent push. Colt will not be cut but he may find himself buried on the depth chart as they move to develop Robert Griffin III. Seneca Wallace knows the west coast offense the best and will stay the backup quarterback in Cleveland. 

The one thing that can be said for Colt McCoy is that he is a fighter and he is not going to just lay down for Robert Griffin or Seneca Wallace. He will  go into the season preparing to start. Robert Griffin III will have to come into Cleveland prepared to work. 

Colt McCoy is as tough as they come with a giant heart and a desire to win, but in a result driven league his 0-8 division record and 6-20 overall record will cost the Browns both their first round picks.