Friday, October 21, 2011
Wake-up call: No guarantees for McCoy
By Jamison Hensley
Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
The Browns have made no commitment to Colt McCoy to be their starting quarterback beyond this season, team president Mike Holmgren said at Thursday's news conference.
"I know it's not healthy to change quarterbacks," Holmgren said via The Plain Dealer. "But you have to find that person. ... Colt is just a pup. He's getting banged around out there. He will play this season and ... we'll evaluate how he does at the end of the season. That's an important part of the equation."
McCoy has averaged 21.6 incompletions over his past three games. His 28.5 QBR is 23rd in the NFL, just above recently benched quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman.
"[McCoy] is a rookie [actually, a second-year player] with a new coach, new signal-caller, new system," Holmgren said. "Are we committed to him? Absolutely. Does it guarantee him the starting position? I want him to do well. Everyone's rooting for him."
Hensley's slant: This is a major shift from April 2010, when McCoy said Holmgren compared him to Steve Young and Joe Montana because of his intangibles. This vote of no confidence comes after 13 up-and-down NFL starts for McCoy. One of the reasons why the Browns have failed to challenge for the AFC North title consistently is the lack of a franchise quarterback. Until they get one, Cleveland will always be chasing the Steelers and the Ravens.
- BENGALS: Right guard Bobbie Williams didn't hold back when he compared Andy Dalton to Carson Palmer, who was traded to the Raiders on Tuesday. “Just to be politically correct, Andy brings something that Carson doesn’t -- and I’m not knocking Carson -- a little bit more passion," Williams told the team's website. "I’m not saying Carson isn’t passionate, but Andy brings a little bit more.” Hensley's slant: There have always been questions about Palmer's leadership ability. In his defense, it can be hard to take control of a locker room that has the likes of Chad Ochocinco in it. Still, even as a rookie, Dalton is getting teammates to follow him.
- RAVENS: The Ravens' secondary got an unexpected surprise when first-round pick Jimmy Smith (high ankle sprain) and Chris Carr (hamstring) both returned to practice, according to MASNSports.com. Smith has been sidelined since the season opener , and Carr has missed the past two games. Three Ravens didn't practice Thursday: wide receiver Lee Evans (ankle), guard Ben Grubbs (toe) and linebacker Jarret Johnson (back). Hensley's slant: There really is no need to rush Smith and Carr back for Monday's game against Jacksonville rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who threw for 109 yards last Sunday in a loss to the Steelers. Baltimore needs both cornerbacks to be at full strength when the Ravens play at Pittsburgh on Nov. 6.
- STEELERS: Pittsburgh defensive tackle Ziggy Hood told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that if you get to Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb, you stop wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Kolb has been sacked an average of 3.2 times per game, which is even more than Ben Roethlisberger (3.0). Hensley's slant: It also helps to have a guy who can cover Fitzgerald. Ike Taylor likely draws that assignment after just allowing his first touchdown. The Steelers can't afford to have flashbacks of Fitzgerald from that Super Bowl victory.