Cleveland Browns: It's Colt McCoy vs. Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IOctober 13, 2010

CLEVELAND - SEPTEMBER 2: Billy Yates #68 and Pat Murray #75 line up before Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns makes the call for the snap against the Chicago Bears during the preseason game on September 2, 2010 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Bears 13-10. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

With the signing of Brett Ratliff, the Cleveland Browns pretty much are locked into starting Colt McCoy this Sunday versus Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

There's two ways of looking at this situation, obviously, so let's get some facts out of the way.

Ratliff has to remain on the Browns active roster for three weeks now per league rules, so that means the Browns believe Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace not only won't be available this weekend, but for at least the next few weeks as well.

Colt McCoy was the winningest quarterback in NCAA history, but his size and arm strength always have been questioned when it came to predicting how successful he'd be in the NFL.

If you're a Browns fan, you already know about the size comparison made between McCoy and former Browns quarterback Brian Sipe, so there's no need to rehash that here.

Roethlisberger returns this week for the Steelers, and they're looking to "get even" for the loss last December. How one loss in the last 13 meetings qualifies for a "get even" game, though, is something that doesn't really make a lot of sense.

Now to the positives having McCoy start.

McCoy knows how to win and comes into the league with a chip on his shoulder. He was projected to go much higher than where the Browns took him in the third round, and that's probably one of the best motivators the kid could have.

The only film the Steelers really have on McCoy besides his college games is the last preseason game where McCoy was playing mostly with guys who aren't on the team anymore.

Unfortunately, that's about the only positives we can look at because the negatives far outweigh the positives at this point.

The Steelers defense is one of the best in the league, and the Browns offensive line already has put two quarterbacks on the sidelines with injuries.

According to the Plain Dealer's scouting report, the Steelers have been "limiting opponents to 2.6 yards per rush and 9.6 yards per reception. Longest run has been 12 yards. The most rushing yards so far was 42 posted by Atlanta's Michael Turner."

So if they're going to rely on McCoy to just hand the ball off to Peyton Hillis, good luck with that.

Taking a brief look at the running game, Hillis is nursing a sore thigh, Jerome Harrison can't hit the holes anymore and James Davis is a good runner when he's not injured, which it appears he is right now.

The other scary factor in all of this is offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who tends to panic and shut the offense down at the first sign of trouble.

A player fumbles? Go conservative, team goes three-and-out.

Long pass play doesn't work? Go up the middle three times.

The Browns probably are going to have to use the Wildcat formation more, and if mistakes are made, they're just going to have to pick themselves up and try again because going conservative with the Steelers defense just won't cut it.

Playing not to lose is not playing to win, and that's a concept Daboll never has seemed to grasp, and he needs to change his mindset if McCoy and the Browns are going to be successful.

McCoy fans have been yelling for the rookie since Day One, so now they'll get their chance to see the rookie.

It couldn't have come on a worse week. Good luck, Colt.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.