Allow me, please, to join the growing chorus of Colt McCoy boosters. Well, maybe not boosters. That's a little too high schoolish and college-like.
More like those who have climbed onto the bandwagon in the belief the kid from Texas might possibly be more than we believed when the Browns drafted him last April.
Through no fault of his own, McCoy has stuck his foot firmly in the door. The door marked opportunity. With two starts now under his National Football League belt, it is time to see what this baby-faced youngster can do. Now.
It is time to see what the future looks like. It is time to bring more into focus the direction the Browns are headed. It is time to make some command decisions now instead of waiting for the future to define itself.
Now that Seneca Wallace is healthy and champing at the starting job, and with Jake Delhomme getting healthier by the week, coach Eric Mangini is hedging his bets. He's taking full advantage of the bye week and milking the situation for all it's worth.
With the New England Patriots dead ahead a week from Sunday, you can bet Mangini relishes keeping who starts at quarterback against the Pats to himself. It's a move that even Bill Belichick, from whom Mangini learned all the tricks, can appreciate.
But if he's smart, Mangini will station McCoy under center the rest of the season. He's got nothing to lose.
It would be counterproductive to sit him back down now that he has, to some degree, satiated his NFL appetite with two starts, during which he did not embarrass himself or his team. Now that he's had his baptism, it makes no sense to rein him in and sit him back down.
Handling it in that manner would stunt his growth. We need to see more of him, not less. Let's see what he's got.
Now that we've seen McCoy and like what we've seen, playing Delhomme or Wallace at this juncture is just plain dumb. If it's to justify Delhomme's $7 million contract, that's even dumber. And Wallace is nothing more than career backup.
The whole idea is to win games with players who give you the best opportunity to do so. Delhomme is an interception machine prone to make mistakes. He is a 35-year-old journeyman who is clearly not in the Browns' long-range plans. So why play him now?
Give him his 7 million bucks, consider his signing a mistake, release him and move on. Nothing wrong with a quarterback troika of McCoy, Wallace and Brett Ratliff.
McCoy has one very important edge on Wallace. He's not 30 years old, in his eighth NFL season and, as previously stated, a career backup.
It wasn't supposed to be this way. McCoy was supposed to wear a headset, carry a clipboard and become a sponge for the entire season. Club President Mike Holmgren as much as said so when he strongly suggested that General Manager Tom Heckert Jr. should draft him.
No one had a problem with that until the ankles of Delhomme and Wallace gave way. Mangini then had no choice but to start McCoy, whose biggest problem is his physical stature at a smallish (by NFL standards) 6-1. It was that attribute that dropped him into the third round of the draft.
So far, McCoy has surprised in that he has exemplified the model of poise. His two starts against the Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints, the past two Super Bowl champions, have revealed a calm most uncommon by someone so young and relatively inexperienced. He doesn't fluster.
The offense, while not exactly blowing away the opposition, has been virtually mistake-free. False starts are way down. There have been no delay-of-game penalties. Motion penalties have become non-existent. Command of the huddle does not appear to be a problem.
In two short outings, McCoy has managed the game a lot better than was expected. He's playing as if he believes he belongs. That self-assured stance is not going unnoticed by his teammates.
As it turns out, Holmgren did not have to worry about whether McCoy could handle the pressure as a rookie. Now all he has to worry about is whether his head coach sees it the same way.
And if Mangini holds true to form, we won't find out until just before the start of the Browns-Patriots game.