When the NFL lockout hit, one of the teams that was most effected was the Cleveland Browns. Making no excuses for Cleveland, but they were already coming off a 5-11 season, they were in the middle of a rebuilding project, and they were heading into an offseason where a number of things were changing. Not only did the Browns bring in a new head coach, but they brought in new coordinators that brought in new systems. After having one of the most dull, boring, and archaic offenses, the Browns made the decision to switch to the west coast offense. It appears the offense will at least be able to help mask some of the weaknesses the Browns have at wide receiver. It also appears to be the ideal offense that second-year quarterback Colt McCoy needs to be in to succeed in the NFL.
And Even though McCoy has done a good job of organizing team workouts to try and get on the same page, it will still take some time to make the necessary adjustments and get comfortable in a new offense. Not to mention the team has also made the decision to switch the defense from a 3-4 to a 4-3. Both of these changes were needed to be sure, but this was the worst possible offseason to try and implement the changes. The Browns will once again be fighting an uphill battle to become relevant in the tough and rugged AFC North. Colt McCoy joined ESPN 850 WKNR in Cleveland with Tony Rizzo to talk about what it is like to have Mike Holmgren in the organization, what he makes of the people that criticize his size, arm strength, and ability to be a good NFL quarterback, whether or not he feels like he is best suited for the west coast offense, what expectations he has for the team this season, how his shoulder is feeling, and if he uses criticism as fuel.
The impression that he tried to make on Mike Holmgren and what it’s like to have Holmgren in the organization:
“They drafted me so you’ve gotta do something and you’ve gotta say something. Coach Holmgren has done a fantastic job with our team just in the first year that he’s been there. We know he’s not our coach but he makes his presence known. If anything right now, even though we’re locked out and none of us have gotten to spend a lot of time in Cleveland, everyone is excited to get back. I think there’s a good little buzz going on around the organization. Everyone is excited about Coach Shurmur and the staff he has brought in. If anything I just feel like there’s a little bit of excitement for this lockout to get over and head into camp.”
On the criticisms about him:
“Well I mean I think it’s something that honestly it kinda goes in one ear and out the other. I know what I can do and what our team is capable of doing. We just have to go out and do it. For me, listening to that kind of stuff is not going to do anything but maybe bring you down. I know what I can do and our team can do and that’s what I spend my time focusing on.”
On the west coast offense being a perfect fit for his style of play:
“Yeah I really do. It’s what I ran in college. The lingo is a little bit different and the terminology is a little bit different but the plays are, the majority of them, are very similar to what we ran in college and obviously I feel comfortable with that. You talk about the time we have spent together this offseason, how much is it going to help? I don’t know, but it’s been really good for us. Just from the standpoint of we’re trying to treat it just like what we would be doing if we were in OTA’s or we were in mini-camp. We’re not coming down here just to hang out, go eat dinner together, and spend quality time together. Yeah that’s part of it, but every guy understands it’s a work trip and we’re doing what we can do to understand the foundation of the west coast. When we get back to camp I think our coaches will be impressed and I think we’ll have a pretty good idea of what’s going on and we can kinda hit the ground running when we get up there.
I do think it has been important for us to do that. I also commend my teammates. The receivers, the tight ends, the running backs, and this past one we had a bunch of the defensive guys down so I commend those guys for really putting in the effort and putting in the time to make that happen. We are locked out and we help each other. Guys who can’t make it, need some help getting down here, or need a hotel room we all pitch in and help but it’s up to them to be willing to do that so I praise those guys. We have worked really hard and I feel comfortable in the west coast. It’s what we do in college. We need work, we need practice. We’re switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and offensively what we’re doing now is really nothing like what we ran last year. We need work, we need time together, and we’re all anxious for this lockout to get over and get back to work.”
What the expectations are this season for the Browns:
“My expectations will never change since I started college and since I got into the NFL and that’s to win. I think every one of my teammates know that and I know that’s their goal after spending a lot of time with them this offseason and really getting to know the guys on the team. Last year was a little bit crazy because yeah I was a part of it early on but I kinda got thrown in there and didn’t have that much time and preparation and guys didn’t gel that well and therefore our season was a little up and down. After spending a lot of time with everybody our goal is to win. We play in a tough division. We play Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati twice a year and ultimately that’s where we have to win to make a difference. I think for me, for our team and for our organization it’s not going to change. Our goal is to win and we’re gonna do everything we can to get that done. We know we face some pretty good obstacles. Not having an offseason, switching our defense, switching our offense, new head coach, and new system. Every team goes through that and those are no excuses. You can’t change the lockout. We’re doing the things we need to do and our goal is to win that’s for sure.”
Whether or not people nationally having low expectations for the Browns is something that fuels the team:
“If that kind of stuff doesn’t motivate you than you’re not a competitor. That all fuels the fire a little bit.”
How his shoulder is feeling:
“Shoulder is feeling really good and that’s a huge positive this offseason. (Host: 100 percent?) Yes. Oh yeah. I had never been through an injury like that. Played four years in college, was healthy, never missed a game, and for that to happen in my very last game of my college career on the stage it happened, it takes away some confidence thinking I go into that game knowing I can make every throw on the field and feel really confident about it and then having a long time, a long break, and a long preparation before your next game and then your next game all of the sudden in against Pittsburgh. It’s easy to question your shoulder, but the one thing about this offseason that has been very positive is the confidence I have in my shoulder and being able to make the throws that I need to make. If anything I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. This offseason has been good to heal my shoulder, my neck, and the things that were affected by that injury. I don’t even think about it anymore. I’ve done a great job staying on top of my rehab, all my exercises, and I feel better than I’ve ever felt. That’s for sure.”