Browns President Mike Holmgren makes no secret that he wanted to draft Robert Griffin III and was disappointed that the Rams rejected his trade offer. But now that the Griffin ship has sailed, the Browns appear to be favoring another year with Colt McCoy as the starter.
Holmgren said Thursday that he trusts in the system the Browns have in place and believes McCoy has plenty of room for growth in that system, especially with a full offseason this year.
“We will stick with our system,” Holmgren said, via the News-Herald. “The big thing is learning the system. I think in the second year of the system you will see more productivity from the offense. We’re not going to change it, but it takes times to get good at it. If you can stick with your quarterback and you stick with the system and you stick with the coaches in the program, it works. You just have to trust me on that.”
Browns General Manager Tom Heckert is also talking up McCoy.
“We do think Colt has a big ceiling,” Heckert said. “It’s my job to get better players surrounding him. After the season, we said we have to protect him better. We have to be able to run the football, which we did at times last year. If you look at the games when we ran well and protected well, Colt played very well. Colt has proven he can play in this league. As Coach Holmgren said, another year in the system and we get him better players, he has a chance to be really good.”
Of course, if the Browns really believed McCoy was a future elite quarterback, they wouldn’t have tried so hard to move up and draft Griffin. All the talk about McCoy’s high ceiling may be more about the Browns now resigning themselves to the fact that McCoy is the best they can do this year, after the Redskins out-maneuvered them for Griffin.
There are other options: There’s been talk of drafting Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill at No. 4 overall. The idea of drafting Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden with the 22nd overall pick has also been floated, although Weeden is three years older than McCoy, so unless the Browns’ brass is blatantly lying when they say they think McCoy has a lot of room to grow, it’s hard to see why the Browns would think Weeden has a better future than McCoy does.
Giving McCoy another year as the starter would be less a statement that the team believes in him as the long-term answer than a statement that the team has no better answer. But until they come up with a better answer, someone has to be the starter in Cleveland. And right now it’s looking like that someone, for 2012, will be McCoy.