That's What They Said: "We did not draft him to play this year." Edition

If that quote isn't familiar, that is Cleveland Browns President Mike Holmgren the day after drafting Colt McCoy. Sometimes things just don't go according to plan, and sometimes when the plan goes a awry at what might be the worst times possible.

He has not had much, if any, practice time with the first-team offense. He was playing behind an atrocious offensive line in the preseason, but it still stood out that he didn't look very comfortable with a lot of his throws, especially on deep passes. If McCoy can only work in short passes that barely go beyond the line of scrimmage, Pittsburgh is going to feast on him.


Yikes.This is a quote from SB Nation's Joel Thorman, the NFL page editor as well as Arrowhead Pride's fearless leader (along with his brother Chris). I saw Colt play this preseason, and he didn't look anything like the all time college football leader in wins. In fairness, if he can some how, some way win this game, Colt McCoy will live forever in the hearts of Browns fans.

We'll see what Colt can do. Even though it may be easy to do, perhaps he shouldn't be dismissed, given the play in tough spots of two QB's we know now. Ben Roethlisberger came in versus Baltimore as a rookie, and Max Hall, who led the Cardinals in a victory over the Saints as an undrafted QB in his first start just last week.

"I sat at home and watched that game and it just didn't seem like we played our type of game. The Browns did what they had to do. They were effective running the ball and they took advantage of mistakes we made."
All world defensive end Aaron Smith, in a Post Gazette article discussing the lack of focus the team suffered from last year in the cold against a one win Browns team. This lack of focus typified the Steelers five game skid last year that all but buried the teams hopes of a playoff birth.

"Given that we might be facing a rookie quarterback and that we do confuse people who have played football for a long time, it would seem to be a mismatch. But look at the game last year when Brady Quinn started, they ran the wildcat most of the game. They ran the ball and were able to keep the game close enough so that they never had to get out of that game plan."
Steelers safety Ryan Clark, discussing what is turning out to be a slowing trend in the NFL (you win Steelguy99,I shake my fist in your general direction, where ever you have gone) the "Wildcat" (SINGLE-WING!) offense. Even if the rest of the league has used it less, Cleveland's version, ran by Josh Cribbs, has hurt us in the past. Quite honestly, I'm happy we aren't facing Seneca Wallace, as they had their own "gimmick" package to work off of too involving both S. Wallace and Cribbs in the backfield. With Colt McCoy starting, we could see the "Wildcat" a little more than we would have otherwise.
 

"It's one of those things, you're blocking, but you also have to feel the defensive lineman, where his movement is, you know he's looking at the quarterback and he's trying to get there, so his movements will dictate that. You're blocking, you're blocking, you kind of feel him start drifting away and you're like, 'Why is he drifting away?' You don't hear the crowd yelling or ahhhing, so it's like 'Oh, God, Ben's coming this way so let me adjust and get him in front.'

An interesting look at what goes through a linemen's head while protecting Ben Roethlisberger. More specifically what goes through Max Starks' head, as he explains in this article from the Post Gazette's Ed Bouchette. It will be a focal point of my game-watching experience to see how this line that has done a fairly good job of keeping their quarterback upright does with Ben under center.
 

As Roethlisberger, 28, officially begins his seventh professional season this weekend, he seems to have plenty of football ahead of him. But if his career was cut short, is his body of work already strong enough to get him into the Hall of Fame?

 

An interesting thought from this article on USA Today's "The Huddle". And there is even a poll. Do what you feel you need to do BTSC.

 

Keeping An Eye On Our Next Opponent

Offensively, the top off-season transaction was trading quarterback Brady Quinn, the ex-Notre Dame star, to Denver for running back Peyton Hillis.

He's no longer the unknown commodity he was to most when they made this trade, and suddenly not the "stupidly wasted 14th round fantasy pick" I got him for (is he Todd?). Hillis could prove to be the biggest step in the right direction this franchise has made since selecting William Green, Gerard Warren, Courtney Brown... okay seriously though, definitely since Joe Thomas, that kid's a beast. This article from the Beaver County Times highlights the new direction that Cleveland is moving towards under Mike Holmgren's mindful eye.

You don't just swap running backs with a team because one team is getting the better player at the position; this sounds like a case of the Eagles taking a disgruntled back off of our hands in exchange for someone who won't be disgruntled.

This from Chris Pokorny, of Dawgs By Nature, reacting to the tradethat sent preseason expected starter Jerome Harrison to Philadelphia in exchange for Mike Bell, another runningback. Each is on the final year of their deal, and Jerome Harrison was reportedly unhappy taking a backseat to Peyton Hillis. Mike Bell, now in his fifth season as a pro from Arizona, is more of a journeymen runningback, as Cleveland will be his fourth team in those five years. He has yet to match his production in Denver as a rookie, but came close last year with New Orleans.

Eleven players didn't practice today for the Cleveland Browns, including quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace and starting running back Peyton Hillis....

Also not practicing today: defensive end Kenyon Coleman (knee), Delhomme (ankle), center Alex Mack (shoulder), nose guard Shaun Rogers (elbow), tight end Robert Royal (shoulder), defensive end Robaire Smith (back), safety Nick Sorensen (calf), offensive tackle John St. Claire (ankle), Wallace (ankle) and offensive guard Floyd Womack (knee). 

Injuries flaring up in Cleveland, although HC Eric Mangini did say that Peyton Hillis will play in today's article on Yahoo!. How these injuries play out and effect the Browns this Sunday will remain to be seen.

"My surprise player would be second round draft pick T.J. Ward. The young man is all over the field and making plays. One thing is for sure, the man can hit."

This is from Josh Jeffi, President Strongsville Browns Backers, the Cleveland Browns international fan club, with chapters in every state. This is from a compilation article, where several members of the organization weighed in with their most surprising players this season. Ward will be one to watch for, as the second round pick from Oregon has been playing pretty well so far this season.

 

For those out of market fans without the Sunday Ticket, here is a regional distribution map, showing what games will be shown where nationally. I'm going to try and include this either here or in a fanshot every week, if I can.

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