Colt McCoy To Start Against Bengals - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Colt McCoy To Start Against Bengals

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Colt McCoy barely blinked as he tried to

insist that it was just another day for the Cleveland Browns.

The rookie didn't fool anyone. This was hardly routine.

Stepping way out of character, coach Eric Mangini named McCoy

his starting quarterback for this week's game at Cincinnati (2-11)

and for the remainder of this season - home games against AFC North

big boys Baltimore and Pittsburgh. McCoy, who hasn't played since

spraining his left ankle on Nov. 21 at Jacksonville, has been

entrusted with Cleveland's offense for three games that could

determine Mangini's future.

"It's no landmark day," McCoy said before practice Thursday.

"Today is the day that, now I know I'm the starter. I gotta go out

and play and go out and get better and I gotta go out and help us

win."

After checking McCoy's mobility for a final time on Wednesday,

Mangini decided to put him back in the starting lineup ahead of

veteran Jake Delhomme, who struggled last week in a loss at

Buffalo.

Mangini said it was his call to go with McCoy, but that he

consulted with team president Mike Holmgren before making it

official.

"I felt like he's earned this opportunity and I want to give it

to him," Mangini said. "I want to see how he continues to grow.

This is by no stretch just throwing a young guy in for the sake of

throwing a young guy in. If I didn't think that he could go out and

lead us and be successful doing that, then I wouldn't make this

decision. But I do feel that way and I feel strongly about it."

While Mangini's decision will please the majority of Browns

fans, it's not known what affect it could have on Holmgren, who

intends to wait until after the season before deciding whether to

bring his coaching staff back. The Browns (5-8) have been wildly

erratic this season, and Holmgren wants stability.

Mangini, though, isn't playing McCoy to appease his boss. He

said he's playing him because he believes McCoy gives his team the

best shot of winning.

"It's not just a function of trying to get him his letter or

anything like that," Mangini said. "He's earned this. I wouldn't

put the team in a position and all the guys in a position where

we're playing a guy just to play a guy. We're all trying to win

games."

McCoy only received his original chance because of injuries to

Delhomme and Seneca Wallace. But forced to play on Oct. 17 at

Pittsburgh, he showed a toughness and poise that seemed to surprise

the Browns, who weren't sure what they had after the former Texas

star struggled in training camp and the preseason.

McCoy passed for 975 yards and three touchdowns while going 2-3

as a starter before getting hurt. He's determined to make the most

of this second chance.

"I never looked for someone to name me the starting

quarterback," he said. "I just need to go out there and play.

There are a lot of ways I can get better, there are a lot of things

I can improve on and that's what I'm going to do the rest of the

year."

And a good reason why, is because Delhomme's comeback season

crashed.

The 35-year-old signed with Cleveland hoping to revive his

career, but a severe ankle injury and his inability to keep the

Browns' offense moving consistently led to the switch. As reporters

waited to speak with McCoy, Delhomme dressed quietly for practice

nearby.

"I'm going to work my tail off and always be ready," he said.

"You just have to take it in stride. That's what I believe. That's

how I work and that's what I'll do."

Mangini said Delhomme handled the news with typical class.

"He couldn't have been more professional, couldn't have been

more supportive not only of Colt, but of the whole team," Mangini

said. "Colt is incredibly lucky to have someone like him in the

building at this part of his career, because you can't ask for a

better team player than Jake Delhomme."

At this point, the Browns shouldn't be shocked by another spin

of Cleveland's quarterback carousel. Since Delhomme was injured in

the opener, the Browns have made four changes at their most vital

position. Delhomme made four starts, Wallace made four and McCoy is

going on his sixth.

The Browns are hoping they don't have to shift again. But the

way this season has evolved, nothing can be ruled out.

McCoy's moxie has won over Cleveland fans and his teammates.

"He's been a winner at every level and he's cool and

confident," running back Peyton Hillis said. "And when you're

confident, it tends to lead to good things. He's shown some good

things, of course he's young and has to learn. He'll be in the fire

a few times before he can really get it, but I think the first few

times against real quality opponents, him doing so well is a really

good thing."

 

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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