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Monday, October 11, 2010
McCoy vs. Steelers a recipe for disaster

By James Walker

Because of ankle injuries to veterans Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, rookie quarterback Colt McCoy reportedly could start for Cleveland on Sunday. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Browns signed Brett Ratliff, who was told he's the backup for McCoy in the Week 6 rivalry game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1). Ratliff was one of the Browns' final cuts this summer.

McCoy
McCoy

This was not in the plans for Browns president Mike Holmgren and head coach Eric Mangini, who didn't provide specifics on the quarterback situation Monday. Both have said they expect McCoy, a third-round pick, to sit at least one year to learn from the sidelines. But very little has gone according to plan for the struggling Browns (1-4), and now McCoy looks to get the nod just six weeks into the season.

If McCoy is viewed as the future of the Browns, they must be very careful about the long-term impact of this decision. Throwing McCoy out there at Heinz Field against Dick LeBeau's defense is a recipe for disaster. In fact, it's the last defense I would pick a rookie quarterback to face in his first NFL start, especially against a hungry Steelers' defense coming off a bye week.

Expect the sharks for Pittsburgh -- James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu, Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith, James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, etc. -- to be out in full force Sunday. I'm sure a wide-eyed McCoy is excited for the opportunity, but in reality he's just fresh meat.

I said in training camp that if McCoy starts, that's a sign Cleveland's 2010 season is over. I picked the Browns to finish last in the AFC North this year, but this ship is sinking faster than expected.