Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

On the outside looking in?

Did former Browns coach Eric Mangini intentionally sandbag Colt McCoy’s development during his rookie season last year?

And if he did, does it matter going into this season?

Yahoo’s Les Carpenter got McCoy to open up about what he went through last year under Mangini and deposed offensive coordinator Brian Daboll:

“Last year had a lot of challenges,” McCoy admitted in the article. “I spent a lot of time trying to think about ‘Why did this happen? Or that happen?’ ”

What happened, allegedly, is that when McCoy arrived in the spring ready to get to work, the coaching staff rarely even spoke to him.

And in the preseason, McCoy didn’t find out he was going to start the final exhibition game until five minutes before kickoff. A coach looked at him and said: “You’re starting,” then McCoy raced into a huddle with players he barely knew.

And once the season started, quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace got the weekly game plan on Monday, while McCoy wasn’t included in the quarterback club until Wednesday.

(Of course, Daboll’s game plans weren’t all that complicated, so McCoy may not have been missing much. But we digress).

In their defense, coming off a 5-11 season Mangini and the coaching staff had their hands full trying to hold onto their jobs – especially as Mangini was no longer the lone voice in the room, but now had to answer to general manager Tom Heckert and team president Mike Holmgren.

With that new dynamic, it seems odd that Mangini would intentionally snub the quarterback hand picked by his boss, Holmgren. But McCoy doesn’t strike us as someone who would lie.

When you add McCoy’s story to that of Jayme Mitchell, who was told to “be patient” when he asked why a 3-4 team would acquire a 4-3 defensive end, and Joe Thomas’ comments about how it is “exciting to be a part of the professional approach everybody takes because I feel like there’s going to be tremendous stability for a long time here,” it sheds a little more light on why Mangini is now the former Browns coach.

The bigger question is does any of this matter now?

Probably not – at least we hope not.

If McCoy is so soft that he would lose his confidence after one season, then the Browns are in trouble. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

“I think what I have seen in Colt, at least in the last week or so, he’s a very eager guy, very smart, he understands how to play the position and he really tries to learn the terminology – try to get up to speed that way,” Shurmur said in the Yahoo! article. “Because every play doesn’t work how you draw it up, he has the ability to improvise and make something happen.”

What’s done is done, and no matter what went on last year McCoy ended up receiving valuable playing time in his eight starts.

McCoy seems ready to put last year behind him and get on to bigger and better things.

“It’s easy to say this is one of those teams that fans will support if it plays well,” McCoy said. “We’ve got to win. We’ve got to find a way.”

(h/t to TenCentBeers for finding the Yahoo! article)

(Photo by Getty Images)

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