Seneca Wallace Proving Colt McCoy Wasn't Ready to Be Cleveland Browns QB

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIDecember 19, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 18:  Quarterback Seneca Wallace #6 of the Cleveland Browns throws a 76 yard touchdown pass during the thrid quarter of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Browns 20-17 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns backup quarterback Seneca Wallace's performance against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 15 just may rouse your interest. His excellent play highlights a glaring deficiency in the Browns offense in 2011.  

So, is Colt McCoy to blame for the Browns' offensive struggles this season?  Wallace's performance could not have come at a more opportune time for both himself and Colt McCoy critics.

During a controversial move in the Browns' Week 14 loss to the arch rival Pittsburgh Steelers, Wallace was relegated to the bench after positioning the Browns at the Steelers' 5-yard line.  A misdiagnosed Colt McCoy was reinserted into the game to lead the Browns to victory.

If McCoy had been kept on the bench and properly diagnosed with a concussion against the Steelers, would Seneca Wallace have put the Browns ahead on the scoreboard?

The win itself wouldn't have meant much in the grand scheme of things.

But wouldn't beating the Pittsburgh Steelers have felt good?

I digress.

During the Browns' Week 15 OT loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Seneca Wallace stepped in seamlessly after not having started a game all season. Wallace made plays and gave the Browns a spark which ultimately extinguished just short of snatching a surprise win.

Wallace succeeded where Colt McCoy has failed all season. His throws downfield—when he threw them—were pinpoint and had adequate velocity to reach his receivers.

Another thing that Wallace excelled at Sunday afternoon was his decision-making. If a play wasn't there, he took off or got rid of the ball—where the other team couldn't get it. He didn't force the issue and make the big mistake.

His passes zipped and hit the Browns receivers. For one reason or another, they actually caught the majority of those passes. It was a pleasant surprise after a season of inconsistent play by McCoy and the Browns offense.

Looking back, would Wallace have been the better choice to help the Browns organization transition to the West Coast Offense (WCO)? He had, after all, acclimated to Browns President Mike Holmgren's WCO during his seven seasons with the Seahawks organization. 

Unfortunately for Wallace and Browns fans, Mike Holmgren handpicked McCoy after he fell to the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. That alone signaled the end of Seneca Wallace's hopes of taking over the starting QB position in Cleveland.

The original plan, laid out by Mike Holmgren, called for a slow process to bring McCoy along. It involved him learning the position and the offense. If enacted as it was intended, this plan would—barring injury—have kept McCoy on the sidelines to continue learning.

Injuries did, though, strike the Browns quarterbacks in 2010, which forced the coaching staff's hand to play the youngster.

However, McCoy struggled in his final games against AFC North competition. Also, in a transitional season such as 2011 for the Cleveland Browns, wouldn't McCoy have benefited more from taking a backseat to Wallace?

As I said already, and you can say it with me, Wallace was seasoned in Mike Holmgren's WCO—the same offense Pat Shurmur is employing week in and week out.

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 4: Quarterback Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns looks to his hands after throwing an incomplete pass during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Jason Miller/Getty Images

Is Seneca Wallace the long-term answer for the Cleveland Browns at quarterback?

Probably not.

But he could have played the role of caretaker much more efficiently until Colt McCoy or another quarterback was groomed in Shurmur's offensive philosophy.  

This is especially true given the giant odds stacked against Colt McCoy to succeed in 2011.

Seneca Wallace should finish off the season and continue to be the Browns starting quarterback until someone can take the job from him. It would be better for the Browns if McCoy was that guy, but nothing is certain. This is especially true given the shaky 5-14 record McCoy has posted thus far in his young career.

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