Countdown to The Draft
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By Tony Grossi
Extra points …
When status quo starts to make sense: Mike Holmgren restated his commitment to Colt McCoy in an appearance on Seattle radio station KJR on Tuesday.
It was the second time the Browns’ president expressed confidence in McCoy since the unsuccessful attempt to move up to No. 2 in the draft to snatch Baylor QB Robert Griffin III.
We should all grasp, by now, the reality of McCoy and Seneca Wallace being the primary quarterbacks in a training camp competition. Any rookie brought in probably wouldn’t come from the first two rounds, as Holmgren and GM Tom Heckert have pledged to use the draft to support their present quarterbacks with an upgraded surrounding cast. You don’t support your quarterbacks by adding another high in the draft.
This philosophy is rational and defensible.
McCoy certainly didn’t have the horses around him last year and was forced to learn the West Coast offense on the fly because of the owners’ lockout. The fact Pat Shurmur was in his first season as head coach and did not hire an offensive coordinator exacerbated McCoy’s development. Now Shurmur should have the worst behind him and seasoned coordinator Brad Childress is on hand to help.
The Browns owe it to themselves and McCoy to give him a legitimate offseason to claim the starting job to see how he operates the WCO with better receivers and protection, and more production in the running game. If McCoy excels, genius status will be restored to Holmgren’s QB resume.
What if …: McCoy doesn’t get the job done?
The Browns will have squandered another season and delayed the introduction of the next quarterback hopeful to the mix.
Considering their modest financial investment in McCoy and Wallace, it’s a safer route than bringing in Matt Flynn and watching him bomb out.
If Flynn flourishes in Seattle, however, Holmgren’s decision not to pursue him will rank somewhere on the following list.
Worst QB mistakes of the Browns’ expansion era: We list them in chronological order.
1.Ignoring Kurt Warner in the expansion draft: OK, he wouldn’t have gone on to the Hall of Fame-caliber career he had in St. Louis and Arizona. We know that. But he was big and strong and healthy and perfectly suited to the original vertical offense installed by first head coach Chris Palmer. The Browns never researched Warner enough to consider him. Instead, GM Dwight Clark pushed rag-armed Ty Detmer on Palmer because of their San Francisco connection.
2. Taking Tim Couch No. 1 overall in 1999 over Donovan McNabb: Hindsight obviously makes this an easy choice. But the fact is McNabb was never seriously in the mix. It came down to Couch and Akili Smith. Ouch.
3. Outbidding nobody for Jeff Garcia in 2004: This move sealed Butch Davis’ fate as a former Browns coach. For some reason, Davis thought Garcia would chase away the nightmare of the Couch-Kelly Holcomb quarterback controversy. Davis actually sold Garcia on the idea of bringing in Bill Walsh in the offseason to facilitate modifications in the Browns’ offense. It never happened and Garcia, another dink-and-dunker, proved to be a square peg. Oh, by the way, the presence of Garcia was the reason Davis ignored Ben Roethlisberger in the draft. He took Kellen Winslow II instead.
4. Bringing in Trent Dilfer to mentor Charlie Frye in 2005: New GM Phil Savage had all the right intentions. But Dilfer never warmed to Frye and was insulted by the thought of backing up a third-round draft pick. Dilfer fled after one season.
5. Failing to develop Brady Quinn: Like McCoy, Quinn showed real promise in limited duty as a rookie. But he regressed, inexplicably, each season. When Rob Chudzinski was hired as coordinator in 2007, big-armed Derek Anderson took over and produced 10 wins. Anderson flamed out the following season.
Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com.
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to email@example.com
Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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