Over the summer, there were several reports that the Cleveland Browns were interested in QB Kevin Kolb, then of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Those rumors came from people who don’t think Colt McCoy was or is capable of being a good starting quarterback in the NFL. Those opinions were obviously preconceived because we pointed out that Kolb’s stats were really no different from what the former Longhorn accomplished with the Browns last season.
Now that McCoy has made 19 NFL starts, more than a full season worth, what do we know about the third round draft pick from the 2010 draft?
His yards per attempt is down from 7.1 last year to 5.93 this season. Obviously, this is due to the number of short passes featured by the team early in the season.
Those shorter throws make McCoy’s completion percentage a bit troubling. It has dropped from 60.8% in ’10 to 58.5% in 2011. You would think the shorter throws would result in more completions.
Of course, the fact that Browns’ receivers lead the NFL in dropped passes doesn’t help this statistic.
However, a closer look at the numbers show the yards per attempt has been on the way up. In four of his last five games, that figure has been over 6.64 yards per throw.
So, there has been improvement from the quarterback as he becomes more comfortable with Pat Shurmur’s system. That’s really all you can expect at this point.
One statistic that has shown improvement from his rookie year is his touchdown to interception ratio. In 2010, McCoy threw six TD’s and nine completions to the opponents.
This year, that stat has improved to 13 scoring tosses compared to just eight picks.
Since the Browns just finished playing Cincinnati, many people compare McCoy with another young passer from Texas, the Bengals’ Andy Dalton.
Dalton has hit 60.1% of his passes and has an average of 6.91 yards per attempt. He’s fired 16 TD passes while throwing 12 interceptions.
Outside of the yards per pass, and remember that McCoy’s figure last year was better than Dalton’s, the stats aren’t much different from the rookie from TCU.
And you have to consider that Dalton throws to a pair of first round draft picks in WR A.J. Green and TE Jermaine Gresham.
Dalton converted three huge pass plays last Sunday, and all three were throws where both of those players went up and made great catches.
Right now, McCoy doesn’t have anyone like that to throw to.
As for the leadership quality, you constantly hear the Browns’ veteran praising the young QB’s toughness and leadership on a week to week basis.
After the victory over Jacksonville, a number of players said McCoy’s mantra all week was “just get it done”.
So, where does this leave us in the process of evaluating Colt McCoy?
Unfortunately, pretty much the same as at the end of last season. We just don’t know.
What can be said is that McCoy hasn’t shown that he can’t be a winning quarterback in the NFL.
Over the past five weeks, he has looked more like the player he was as a rookie. He has seemed less robotic, less mechanical, and he is going out there and just playing football.
The running game has been better over that period of time with both Chris Ogbonnaya and Peyton Hillis giving defenses something else to think about.
It also probably means GM Tom Heckert will not be looking for another passer in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Right now, we don’t know much more than we knew going into the season about Colt McCoy.