BEREA - There could be an entire category on "Jeopardy" devoted to quarterback failures by the Browns dating back to 1999 and the Tim Couch era.
Actually, it's hilarious to even use the word "era" regarding the position. It's more like weeks when discussing the length of time some quarterbacks have remained the starter.
Many haven't lasted long because of injuries Jake Delhomme's 2010 season was short-circuited in the second quarter of the season opener. Others have been sent walking because of failing to reach expectations, whether it was a number one overall pick like Couch or a veteran like Trent Dilfer.
There's optimism that things might finally be different this season with Colt McCoy. There were signs of promise during an eight-week run as the starter during his rookie season of 2010. He went into the offseason knowing he would be the starter in 2011, and he's now ready to assume the controls.
"It's been like that since we came back," McCoy said. "I understand it's my job to go out and lead our team. That's really my only focus. We have a good group of guys in this locker room. If you look at things that have gone on in this preseason with injuries, someone has stepped up and filled that void. Now is when it counts. Now we have to take all our hard work and put it to use."
It wasn't known for sure what first-year coach Pat Shurmur felt about McCoy when he was named to the post last January. Shurmur didn't have the benefit of an entire offseason to work with McCoy because of the lockout, which further complicated the player-coach relationship.
Shurmur entered training camp going with McCoy for better or worse. So far he's pleased with what he's seen.
"Where it began was in the offseason and him being curious about what things were going to look like, and we watched in his offseason how he tried to lead the team with very little information, which I thought was terrific," Shurmur said. "He took the initiative to go see Brett Favre. What you saw was a guy eager to learn, and it continued and started once we started training camp when he met us more than halfway. He was trying to gobble it up the best he could.
"You saw him in practice when he was a little bit rusty, and he fixed some errors. Then he got an opportunity to go in and be pretty efficient in the first preseason game. He went through the process in training camp and did basically what we wanted. He's been passing the test in my mind as we've gone along."
McCoy might have been trying to gobble it up a little too quickly. Team president Mike Holmgren said a couple weeks ago that McCoy was carrying too heavy of a burden on his shoulders in a desire to become a quality player. Holmgren's advice was to slow down and enjoy things.
"I don't know about that too much, but you're curious about how things are going to be," Shurmur said. "You grab a little bit of information and then you run with it. You think you know, but you don't know. I was a student once. You get ready for a test and you think you know a little bit, and that's dangerous. In his mind in the offseason there was always that anxiety. There was that conversation that we're always going to be behind. I think he challenged himself during the offseason."
McCoy is simply trying to avoid making the same mistake twice.
"That's important when you're learning a new offense," McCoy said. "We're still putting some new things in that you can't afford to make the same mistake twice and set yourself back. That's part of being a quarterback."