McCoy vows to battle for starting QB job
BEREA (AP) — Colt McCoy has been promised a fair fight by the Browns.
He says he believes them and knows he’s the underdog.
Choosing his words carefully and sounding resigned to his fate, McCoy put on a brave front Tuesday as he discussed the inevitability that Cleveland’s offense will be led by a new quarterback this season.
McCoy took the initial snaps in practice with Cleveland’s starters. But it’s only a matter of time before first-round draft pick Brandon Weeden, with the cannon for a right arm, replaces him behind center. General manager Tom Heckert said Monday night that the “best guy is going to play” and the Browns selected the 28-year-old Weeden with the No. 22 overall pick last month “to be that guy.”
McCoy said all the right things during his first comments since last season. He offered his support to Weeden. He vowed to be a team player.
“This is the card that’s been dealt,” McCoy said after the Browns’ first day of organized team activities. “I can just say that I’m working as hard as I can. You never know what to expect. One of my favorite quotes by the NAVY Seals is, ‘The only easy day was yesterday.’ That’s just kind of how I have to live right now.”
Once viewed as a potential franchise QB, McCoy’s days with the Browns appear numbered. The team would like to develop Weeden, and to do that with complete commitment, the Browns may need to find a new team for McCoy or simply release him. He said he has not asked to be traded because “they told me I had a chance to compete.”
Following the draft, McCoy said the Browns called and told him he would have a chance to keep his job. He liked the idea of a challenge and said he’s doing all he can to embrace it.
“They just said, ‘Hey, come in here and compete.’ As a competitor, that’s all you need to hear, really,” said McCoy, who has recovered from the concussion that ended his second season. “Just come in with your head on right and give it all you can every day. I want my teammates to see the same guy every day. Amidst some difficulties as a quarterback, you’ve got to be able to thrive in those situations. At the same time, you’ve got to kind of regard them as routine. Those things are going to happen throughout your career.”
It’s assumed Weeden will be the starter Sept. 9 against Philadelphia, but the rookie isn’t taking anything for granted.
“I have to earn that job,” he said. “They’re not going to hand it to me just because of where they took me. I have to compete and show I belong on the field. Every position — mine in particular with Colt and how good he played and how good of a player he is. The competition is fun. It should be better for everybody involved. That’s the mentality I’m taking. It’s not my job. It’s my job to win.”
McCoy didn’t have it easy last season.
Along with learning a new offense under a rookie coach, he didn’t have any experienced wide receivers or a running game to lean on. The Browns couldn’t score, McCoy’s mistakes multiplied and his season came to a crashing halt when Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison leveled him with a dangerous helmet-to-facemask hit on national TV.
Now, he’s losing his job. It doesn’t seem fair, but McCoy isn’t complaining.
The Browns spent the offseason looking for an upgrade at quarterback. They pursued a trade to move up and select Robert Griffin III and even had brief talks with Indianapolis about Andrew Luck. McCoy watched it all from his home in Texas before the Browns nabbed Weeden with their second pick in the first round.
He’s taken it all in stride. He has no other choice.
McCoy believes he can keep his job, and he won’t give it up without a fight.
“As long as I’m given an opportunity to compete as a quarterback — I had to earn my job at UT every year basically except for my senior year,” he said. “I had to earn my job in high school. My dad didn’t start me when I was a freshman. I had to play when I was a sophomore. I understand the idea, and if it’s a fair competition, then that’s all you can ask for. And regarding what everyone has said, this is a business.
“I don’t want this to be a situation where it’s me vs. him or him vs. me. I want it to be a situation of — and I think we can all agree to this — let’s help our team the most. Let’s make it about the Cleveland Browns being a great football team next year. And if that’s the case, I’m all in.”