NFL Nation: Question

NFC Big Question: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Will the Cleveland Browns have enough patience to successfully groom rookie quarterback Colt McCoy?

When it comes to quarterbacks, patience certainly is not a virtue in Cleveland.

[+] EnlargeColt McCoy
AP Photo/Amy SancettaColt McCoy is expected to start the season No. 3 on the quarterback depth chart.
It's a city that is desperate for a championship and a franchise quarterback to call its own. It's been 17 years since Bernie Kosar last donned a Browns uniform. Cleveland fans have been quick to anoint the Browns' next franchise quarterback, only to be disappointed.

Often the Browns' organization followed suit by rushing quarterbacks onto the field and usually without much of a supporting cast.

For example, Tim Couch was a No. 1 overall pick after the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999. He played 15 games his rookie year and spent that season -- and most of his career -- taking a pounding for an expansion franchise. Thus, Couch never had the chance to fully blossom as an NFL quarterback thanks to various injuries he suffered.

Kelly Holcomb, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson and most recently Brady Quinn all followed and were among the young players who were shuffled in and out of Cleveland’s revolving door at quarterback. The team never established a consistent direction at the league's most important position.

This brings us to McCoy -- this year's highly publicized third-round pick. He is the next young quarterback to generate hope and a significant buzz in northeast Ohio.

Ideally, Browns president Mike Holmgren wants to wait a year, maybe two, before McCoy sees the field. But the second veteran starter Jake Delhomme struggles with a multi-interception game, there will be pressure in Cleveland to see what McCoy can do. Yet Seneca Wallace, not McCoy, is currently No. 2 on the depth chart if Delhomme falters.

In the past decade, few NFL franchises have failed more at grooming a long-term solution at quarterback than the Browns. That is why it's important for the team to stick to its plan and let McCoy learn from the sidelines in 2010 -- no matter what happens with the quarterbacks in front of him.

The Big Question: Boys in safety squeeze?

May, 4, 2010
NFC Big Question: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Have the Cowboys created a problem for themselves by trying to be thrifty?

[+] EnlargeAlan Ball
Jimn Luzzi/Getty ImagesAlan Ball is projected to start at safety in place of the recently released Ken Hamlin.
After the way starting safety Ken Hamlin performed in 2009, I don't think a lot of Cowboys fans were broken up about his release. But some of those fans are about to get a reality check when the inexperienced Alan Ball and his projected backup Michael Hamlin take the field in 2010.

Ken (no relation to Michael) wasn't living up to the lucrative contract that he earned after a Pro Bowl season in 2007. He took poor angles and he wasn't a sure tackler. Ball, who converted from cornerback, filled in nicely in '09 but no one knows if he's ready to start for a full season. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has hinted the team might sign a free-agent safety, but the pickings are pretty slim at this point. Saints Pro Bowler Darren Sharper was on the open market for a long time, and now we know why.

The Cowboys should know more than anyone that rolling the dice at safety isn't a good approach. When Darren Woodson was injured before the '04 season, the Cowboys were held hostage by that position. Over the years, they've tried everyone from Keith Davis to Pat Watkins, but things didn't settle down until Ken Hamlin showed up in '07.

Gerald Sensabaugh had a nice season for the Cowboys in '09, but they need another player who's strong in coverage and can call out adjustments. Sensabaugh's at his best when he can simply focus on playing. If the Cowboys are leaning on Ball to get them in the right coverages, there could be some issues. I think he's a talented player, but he's someone better suited for a backup role.

Everyone keeps talking about left tackle, but I think Cowboys fans should be more concerned about safety.



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