What Happened to Colt McCoy?

In Colt McCoy’s rookie season (2010), he was thrust into action before then-coach Eric Mangini or anyone in the organization wanted because of injuries to both Jake Delhomme and his backup, Seneca Wallace.

His first start was against Pittsburgh, and the rook didn’t embarrass himself, hitting on 23 of 33 passes for 287 yards.  He did throw two interceptions, but overall had everyone encouraged by his performance.

His next three starts fueled the optimism, as the Browns knocked off the defending Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints, and followed that up by beating New England, and losing in overtime to the Jets, who went to the AFC title game last season.

In those games, he completed 41 of 66 throws for 453 yards and no interceptions. 

He was injured himself in the next game, a loss to Jacksonville, but he still was 17 of 28 for 241 yards, with a TD and an interception.

The question is simple:  What happened to that guy?

McCoy came back from his high ankle sprain to play the last three games, the first of which might have been his best game of the year, completing 19 for 25 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns.  So, it’s safe to say he was healthy again.

The last two games were against Baltimore and Pittsburgh, and the rookie from Texas struggled in those starts, completing only 35 of 70 throws for 358 yards, with a TD toss, but a whopping six interceptions.

Did McCoy lose his confidence in these two starts?

In 2010, McCoy made eight starts.  He had a quarterback rating of over 80, a modest total, in five of them.  All of those occurred in his first six games.

Last season, he started 13 games and had a passer rating of over 80, just three times:  A win over Indianapolis in week two, a week seven loss to San Francisco, a loss to St. Louis in week nine, and a win over Jacksonville in week 10.

So, here is the question that no one has asked Pat Shurmur and Mike Holmgren.  What happened to McCoy that caused a regression in his performance?

Did he lose his confidence after the two bad outings at the end of his rookie season?

Did the league make adjustments to him after reviewing game films from 2010?

Why did his yards per attempt drop from 7.1 in ’10 to 5.9 last season?

Why did his completion percentage drop from 60.8% in 2010 to 57.2% in 2011, despite going to an offense that features short passing?

Has anyone heard explanations as to what happened to the guy who many people were so excited about just a year ago?

The short, quick answer is that McCoy just doesn’t have the talent to be an elite quarterback in the NFL.  He doesn’t have a big arm, nor does he have the size many would like at the position.

Still, he seemed to be very unsure of himself in the pocket this season, something that wasn’t there in his first year. 

Was this due to learning a new offense?  Was McCoy thinking about every move he made, rather that just playing the game instinctively?

There seems to be a lot of unanswered questions about Colt McCoy.  That’s why there is a lot of support for him from Browns’ fans. 

That’s why there is hesitation from many about drafting a quarterback in the first round of this spring’s draft. 

If you watched Browns’ games this season, you wondered what happened to the guy who played so confidently and for the most part, effectively in 2010. 

Can that guy re-appear in 2012?

If GM Tom Heckert picks Robert Griffin III with the fourth pick in April, then you have your answer.  If they don’t, perhaps the front office feels he can get back to being the player he was in 2010.

JD

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