Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) - These days Browns quarterback Colt McCoy has tunnel vision.
He’s focused on one thing and one thing alone – making himself a better quarterback.
McCoy is supposed to be in a “competition” with Brandon Weeden for the starting quarterback job but a week into camp, and that competition appears to be for the back-up gig.
Weeden continues to receive the vast majority of reps with the ones while McCoy gets the bulk of his work in with the twos.
“All I’ve been told is to come out here and compete,” McCoy said. “I love the game of football. I want to play, I love Cleveland. And that’s what I want to do for my team is come out here and get better everyday and compete.
“That’s all I’m doing.”
McCoy spoke for the first time Wednesday – 6 practices into camp – prompting him to joke, “I’ve missed you guys.”
But does he really feel that he is getting a fair shake with the competition?
“I think that’s a good question for Pat or Coach Childress or somebody,” McCoy said. “All I’ve been told is to compete and that’s something that I would do regardless. But especially in this situation, I want to go out and get myself better each day and I think we’re accomplishing that.”
Starting job aside, McCoy has spent the offseason and first part of camp focusing on his own development and improvement within the offense.
Not who he is working with.
“That doesn’t mean you don’t come out and compete and make yourself better,” McCoy said of working with the second team. “I’ve taken all snaps with the second group and I’m still competing. That’s what I’m supposed to do. And I think that’s making our football team better.”
Despite the discernible difference in arm strength and accuracy between McCoy and Weeden, coach Pat Shurmur seems pleased with McCoy’s progression in the offense.
“Colt is doing great,” Shurmur said. “I’m seeing him do things this camp that he didn’t do a year ago.”
McCoy feels a difference as well.
“It’s amazing what an offseason will do,” McCoy said. “A little consistency, guys starting to know starting to play a little faster. I think it’s just natural, that’s going to happen. The game’s slowed down for me. I go out to practice and everyday try to get better, work on something to get better.
“I’m still competing, still working my tail off and that’s all you can do.”
The lockout last offseason was the perfect storm for failure for McCoy and the Browns.
It was essentially the blind leading the blind.
McCoy had Shurmur’s playbook but no counsel due to the lockout. He did the best he could to learn what was a foreign language to him and then try and teach it to his teammates before training camp.
It was a disaster.
In 13 starts last season, McCoy threw for 2,733 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He completed 57.2 percent of his passes and finished with a 74.5 quarterback rating.
Having a full offseason of minicamps and OTA’s has slowed down the game for McCoy.
“I feel like what we’re trying to do is slowing down for me,” McCoy said. “I’m not out there worried about where guys are going to be on the field and if I can get them the ball. I’m watching what the defense is doing. I’m throwing based off their coverages, I know where my guys are going to be.
“I just come out here everyday and work on things to become a better quarterback.”
When he looks at what Weeden is working with, one could understand if McCoy were jealous.
Rookies Josh Gordon and Travis Benjamin join Greg Little as legitimate targets while McCoy had Brian Robiskie to throw to a year ago in the opener against the Bengals.
Add the fact that Trent Richardson is in the backfield where injuries a year ago forced the Browns to sign Chris Ogbonnaya from the Houston Texans’ practice squad mid-season and any frustration on his part is very understandable.
To his credit, McCoy isn’t looking at what could’ve or should’ve been – just how can he be better.
“I feel like I get better everyday,” McCoy said. “You’ve played a year, and we didn’t have an offseason that year and we kind of went in and we were just trying to run plays. I wouldn’t tell you that I’m coming out here running plays right now, I’m running an offense.
“There’s a difference and I feel that each day.”
There’s also the possibility McCoy won’t be here come Sept. 9.
“I can’t control anything other than coming out here and getting better,” McCoy said. “Obviously, I’m still growing, still learning, still maturing. But as far as that natural progression goes, I couldn’t be more pleased with where I’m at right now.”