Rock-steady McCoy may be a real keeper for emerging Browns
Cleveland's Colt McCoy has two more rookie wins than Tom Brady ever collected
McCoy, a third-round pick last April, may end up as the Browns' long-term QB
The Pats didn't respond well to the challenge of being 6-1 and facing Eric Mangini
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He's got the name of a guy from central casting.
Colt McCoy. Quarterback.
Perfect, isn't it? Right out of Friday Night Lights.
A guy named Colt McCoy was born to play quarterback. He was born to play quarterback for Texas. He was born to play quarterback in the National Football League.
And now at the tender age of 24, Colt McCoy is 2-1 as a starter in the NFL. He's won at the Superdome against the defending Super Bowl champion Saints, and on Sunday, he directed the 3-5 Browns to a 34-14 thrashing of the Patriots. With McCoy calling signals, the Browns enjoyed their season high for points, first downs (22), total yards (404) and time of possession (38.08).
Not too many rookie quarterbacks beat Bill Belichick and the Patriots. In fact, they're just 3-7 against New England in Belichick's 11 seasons as head coach. Before McCoy, the only kid QBs to beat the Hoodie were Ben Roethlisberger (2004) and Mark Sanchez (2009).
"He did well,'' conceded Tom Brady, who never started as a rookie in 2000. "He moved the team, and they scored a lot of points. He made some big scrambles and did a great job. I have been in that spot, but never as a rookie like he is; but he is obviously doing the right thing out there. He is getting the ball to the right guys and making accurate throws.''
A third-round pick (No. 85 overall) last spring, McCoy was the third quarterback on the Browns' depth chart at the start of the season. Early-season injuries to Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace forced coach Eric Mangini to turn to the rookie. Now, it's going to be tough to go back. There is certainly no upside to playing Delhomme anymore. The Browns are all about the future and McCoy is the future.
"Can we just really enjoy this moment right here?,'' Mangini said when asked about his next week's starter. "We'll talk about it tomorrow and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday and Saturday.''
Against New England, McCoy completed 14 of 19 passes for 174 yards with zero interceptions. His quarterback rating was 101.6, higher than Brady's 90.5. He also ran for 20 yards on three carries, including a Vince Young-like 16 yard scamper into the end zone in the third quarter. He made one nifty overthrow to avoid a sack under pressure. He was not sacked once. It was an impressive performance for a rookie against a Belichick defensive scheme.
"I prepare really hard,'' said the kid. "I've got great coaches and great teammates and the defense played lights out the last two weeks. I just try to go into a game and be my best for our team. ... What I try to hang my hat on is that we're going to go into a game prepared.''
Cleveland's running game made things easier for McCoy. The Browns rushed for a whopping 230 yards. Shades of the old Jim Brown days. McCoy's 16-yard carry into the end zone effectively clinched the game.
"I felt real slow,'' he admitted. "When we got into the fringe area, they like to play a lot of double coverage. I just stepped up a little in the pocket and everyone was man-to-man outside. I was just trying to make a play with my feet, get a first down, and it ended up that the receivers made some great blocks downfield and I got in the end zone.''
McCoy knows he's good, but there's nothing cocky in his press conference cadence. He credits his teammates and his coaches. He remembers his pass protection and his downfield blockers. No Namath. No guarantees. Just good game management. Good choices. And some good throws, too.
"He's continuing to earn that trust,'' said Mangini. "Trust. We are talking about that all the time. Trust is one of our core values and in order to have it, you need to be trustworthy and everybody needs to know that they can trust you. Colt has done an excellent job each week, showing that he's able to do a little bit more. As he does that, he's getting a little bit more and he hasn't disappointed.
''I like the way that he managed the game. For the most part, he made really good decisions and he managed the team really well. I thought the scramble he had for a touchdown was an outstanding play. He just hasn't been fazed.''
The only Browns rookie quarterback to win more than two games as a starter was Bernie Kosar, who won four times in 10 starts in 1985. McCoy is 2-1 as a starter and the Browns play the Jets next week.