Report: Colt McCoy 'Definitely' Starting for Browns at Pittsburgh
According to ESPN.com's James Walker, a source said that McCoy will "definitely" start against the Steelers, barring "something unforeseen." If that's the case, recently signed Brett Ratliff would then likely back McCoy up.
As far as ideal spots for McCoy's first NFL start, this scenario has to be pretty far down the list. Not only are the Steelers coming off a bye week, which was preceded by a heartbreaking loss to Baltimore, but Ben Roethlisberger's set to make his 2010 debut after a four-game suspension. Emotions figure to be run pretty high in Pittsburgh for a team that's already established itself as one of the league's elite this season, despite Big Ben's absence.
McCoy, meanwhile, had to scratch and claw his way onto Cleveland's roster after a subpar training camp followed his being drafted No. 85 overall in April.
The good news for the Browns -- somewhere in the vein of "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?" -- is that McCoy's last two preseason outings were far and away his best. In Cleveland's third preseason game, at Detroit, McCoy hit on 10 of 14 passes for 76 yards. He followed that up with a 13-of-13 performance against Chicago.
McCoy coming anywhere close to that level of success against the Steelers' aggressive defense would be stunning, to say the least.
"I know this is not where we wanted to go at this point in the season," McCoy said Tuesday, according to Cleveland.com. "Coach (Mike) Holmgren (the Browns' president) said at the very beginning ... that I was going to watch and learn.
"But you know what? I've prepared like I was the starter since the first game. I worked hard in the meetings, in the film room, studied with Jake and Seneca. I've been doing that the last five weeks. I understand what we're doing offensively. I understand our game plans. Now it's just go out and do it."
The Browns will do what they can to avoid, for lack of a better description, getting McCoy killed. What that means is a lot of new star RB Peyton Hillis, as well as trying to utilize short, quick-hit passes to counter Pittsburgh's frequent blitzes. That's the strategy Cleveland used with McCoy in the preseason -- he averaged a little more than eight yards per completion in four preseason appearances. To put that in perspective, Wallace has averaged 11 yards per completion in the regular season; Delhomme just shy of 10.
Cleveland also figures to use a lot of Joshua Cribbs, likely in a number of different sets. Cribbs, the Browns' do-everything player, has worked out of the wildcat in the past and should get at least a few chances again against the Steelers.