Going into the season, the Browns management finally had a solid plan at quarterback (for once). Jake Delhomme was going to be the starter, Seneca Wallace would be the backup, and rookie Colt McCoy was going to be the third string “redshirt” and learn from Delhomme. Holmgren made it clear that McCoy would not see the field in 2010, despite everyone’s curiosity about the rookie’s abilities at the NFL level. However, with some exceptions, many agreed that a year of sitting was best for him and the team.
Of course, plans don’t always work out the way you want them to.
When the Browns signed Delhomme, there were mixed emotions. Some were okay with the move, but others (B19K comes to mind) adamantly opposed it. In the preseason, many Browns fans, including myself, were optimistic about Delhomme’s abilities to at least manage the game, make the necessary throws, and help the Browns win some games. Delhomme completed 79.2% of his passes in the preseason with 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Could the struggling Delhomme, who threw 8 TDs and 18 INTs in his final season with Carolina before being benched for Matt Moore, revitalize his career in Cleveland?
Well, looking at Delhomme’s stats, it hasn’t been pretty. While he did get injured during the opener, it’s still ugly. In 2 games played, Delhomme had a 55% completion percentage, 1 TD, and 4 INTs, making for a QB rating of 48.2. Of course, the injury did account for some of his poor play. And when Delhomme was injured against Tampa Bay, Seneca Wallace had to take over as the starter.
In 5 games, Wallace completed 63% of his passes with 4 TD and 2 INTs, giving him a QB rating of 88.5. His scrambling abilities helped him to extend plays, and he was giving the Browns a better chance to win than Delhomme probably could. So keeping Wallace as our starter didn’t sound like a bad idea, right? Well, the injury history of this team crept up on us again, and Wallace was injured against the Falcons as well.
Five games and two quarterbacks later, Colt McCoy became the only viable starter against the Steelers. So, there the Browns were, a 1-4 team getting ready to head into Pittsburgh with a rookie QB making his first career start. The same QB they planned on sitting for a year or two. The media and the majority of Browns fans prepared for the absolute worst. Rotoworld, which we all know and love, even likened Colt to a lamb getting ready to be slaughtered. So we all held our breath as he lined up under center at Heinz Field for the first time.
Despite the loss, McCoy surprised many. He looked confident, poised, and his much talked about accuracy showed throughout the game. He finished the day 23-33 with 281 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs (one of which should have been a catch). This wasn’t against a bottom ranked deense, this was against the “steel curtain”. And with Delhomme and Wallace still injured, McCoy had to start today against the Saints as well. His numbers were pedestrian: 9-16, 74 yards, 0 TDs or INTs. However, McCoy made good throws (some of which were dropped) and didn’t put the Browns in any poor situations.
Now it’s the bye week and this organization has some thinking to do. With Delhomme and Wallace getting healthy soon, who do you start? Delhomme and Wallace aren’t part of this team’s future. Delhomme is aging, and Seneca is a permanent backup. Despite Colt’s two decent games, we still don’t know if he’s the answer. We still have to wonder if we should go for a QB in the first round of the draft or stick with Colt in 2011. So wouldn’t it make sense to start him the rest of the way in order to clarify if he’s part of this team’s future as well?
Sound off, Browns fans.