Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) - Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur has an idea how the quarterback competition will end up.
He’s just not telling anyone who the winner is or who he thinks it will be.
The three contestants – Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace – aren’t about to try and figure it out either.
However, Wallace is a realist and has already conceded the job to Weeden.
“The kid was drafted in the first round for a reason,” Wallace said. “It wasn’t that they drafted him to come to sit on the bench. At some point he’s going to play, whether it’s the first week or the 12th week.
“It could be a competition but at the end of the day we know who’s going to be the guy out there starting at some point.”
Since Weeden was selected with the No. 22 pick on April 26, there has been little doubt as to who would be under center in the fall.
Watching Weeden work in practice only confirms it.
“I’ve come a long ways,” Weeden said. “I’m starting to get comfortable, get acclimated with what we’re doing and I feel a lot more comfortable today than I did the first day when I walked on the field.
“I think that’s just with reps and the more reps that I continue to get, the better off I’ll be.”
Weeden refuses to say that he’s going to be the starter even though he appears to be receiving starters reps in the OTA’s and during minicamp.
“I can’t say that,” Weeden said. “Even though I’m getting a lot of reps with the one’s, I think that helps me. I think as well I am going against the one defense, I’m with the five offensive linemen that are going to be playing, but I feel like nothing is set in stone until its official.
“That’s the way I’m approaching it. I’m going to keep competing and that’s my mindset.”
The mindset of McCoy has to be shaken by the events of last season and then this offseason.
His first full season as a starter ended with a concussion. Prior to that he spent 13 weeks receiving very little help from a limited supporting cast and being treated like a pinata by opposing defenses.
The Browns felt McCoy was the problem and not the skill positions.
The team spent months doing what they could to replace McCoy – until they finally did on night one of the draft.
“It is what it is,” McCoy said. “We’re in a situation where we’re both trying to learn and get better and compete. Y’all see the reps, y’all see the practice so when I’m in the game I just try to go out there and do the best that I can.”
McCoy has been trying not to focus on the uphill battle that he’s been fighting to remain the starter.
“I can only control what I can control,” McCoy said. “That’s when I have the football in my hands, what do I do with it.
“I feel confident. I feel comfortable.”
McCoy hasn’t looked confident or comfortable during the three OTA sessions and minicamp that was open to the media. From missed completions to subtle displays of frustration, he clearly knows what he’s facing.
“I feel like the OTA’s and minicamp have gone really well,” McCoy said. “It’s all about playing fast and getting better. Those are the things that I wrote down on my notes and I have really focused on those things, focused on the little things. From my standpoint, I feel like the ball is coming out well.
“There are always things that I can continue to work on, little things that you may not see that I’m working on, but I feel like it’s gone really well.”
McCoy has approached the offseason work in the only way that he can – as if he is still the starter and not a backup or the third string QB.
“I have not gone there in my mind,” McCoy said. “When I come out to practice, in my mind I’m the starter. That’s the only way I look at it.”
McCoy is saying all the right things and trying to do them as well but it will be a moot point once Shurmur says that Weeden is the starter.
Whenever that will be.
“Sooner than later I’ll make sure I name a starter for you,” Shurmur said. “I don’t see the urgency right there, but in terms of the backup situation, I can see a scenario where all three of the players you’re talking about will be here.”
Wallace disagrees with Shurmur that all three quarterbacks will coexist on the roster this season. Not because they don’t like each other but because the room will be too crowded with three players that all want to play.
“Can any of you guys see all three of us being here?” Wallace said. “You’ve written about it, so that answers your question. Probably not.”
One of them will be the odd man out and Wallace isn’t interested in sitting behind Weeden and McCoy.
“No, not really,” Wallace said. “We all know the third guy doesn’t dress Sundays, and if it comes down to that decision, obviously neither one of us wants to be that third guy.”
Wallace does believe his experience will definitely be a plus in determining if he remains the backup.
“This is my 10th year. I know the ropes,” Wallace said. “I know what goes on. I’m not naive to that. I know the system well enough to compete at any time. Whatever decision is made, that’s the coaches’ decision.
“We would all love for it to be sooner than later to figure that situation out. We don’t know if we’re all three going to stick around. We might and we might not.”
Contracts could play a role in deciding who the backup will be.
In that case, McCoy has the edge over Wallace. McCoy’s base salary is $540,000 while Wallace is set to make $2.4 million.
While Wallace was candid in his responses, McCoy politely tap danced when he was asked if he’s not No. 1 or No. 2, will he ask to be released or traded.
“That’s out of my control too,” McCoy said. “In my mindset we have three more OTAs, and I want to come out here and make those the best OTAs that we’ve had so far. Again, it’s controlling what you can control and just going out there and playing.
“That’s what I’ve always done.”
It’s time for Shurmur and the Browns to just fess up and admit that Weeden will start September 9 against Philadelphia.
Then they must decide what to do with Wallace and McCoy because it’s starting to look like one of them will have to go regardless if Shurmur wants to or thinks that he can keep all three.
As Wallace said, “probably not.”