Browns quarterback Colt McCoy met with reporters this morning while he hosting a youth football camp at Strongsville High School. Here are some of the highlights from the news conference:
On if he's optimistic that the NFL's lockout will end soon: "Well, I mean I think you have to be. This process, it’s been a long time. So collectively, I think speaking for our organization, we’re ready to get back to work."
On the latest labor updates he has heard: "To be honest, I don’t know much. I keep up with our player reps Scott Fujita, Tony Pashos, Ben Watson, those guys do a great job of informing us what’s going on. You hear stuff every day that sounds like we’re inching closer and closer. We’re all just anxious to get back to work."
On if he thinks the players-only workouts he has organized during the lockout will help: "Yeah, I mean, how much is it gonna help? I don’t know, but the fact is that we’ve got together four or five times. We’ve worked really hard. I think our organization, our team, is in a little bit different situation (than) other teams. You look across the league, you’ve got teams like the Saints, the Patriots, those guys with established quarterbacks, Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. They’re offense is not gonna change. They’re defense is not gonna change. They have everything right where they want it. For us, we’re switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3. Offensively, we’re switching from one system to the West Coast system, and we’ve got a lot of work to do and we realize that. So being able to get together and work and throw has been huge for me individually because I didn’t get that last year. I didn’t have that offseason with those guys and my teammates, so it’s been great for me. For those guys, we have spent a lot of time breaking down the playbook, the playbook that we do have, understanding the basics, the fundamentals, the foundations of the West Coast. So, absolutely, that will help. We also understand that it’s going to take time. Defensively, it’s going to take time to make that change, to get the guys in the right places. Offensively, (we still need to) figure out what are we going to do. What’s our go-to stuff? We’ve got to figure out who’s going to play where, and how it’s all going to work and we need that coaching. So we’re in a little bit different situation. We’re not making any excuses. When it’s time it’s time. But certainly we’re ready to get this over with."
On how much missing coaches hurts during the workouts: "Yeah. And that’s hard. But you have the playbook and you’ve got your teammates, so the things you can do is get together and work. I really commend all my teammates, receivers, tight ends, running backs. Last week we had a ton of guys on defense show up. Mary Kay (Cabot) was out there, and so, that was huge for us, to be able to get together like that, spend some time together. But also we’ve got together and thrown individual routes, thrown some one-on-ones. Really worked on our stuff. But then with the defense out there, we were able to play some seven-on-seven. And for me, seeing coverages, seeing different things, that’s huge. And so, that was really good for us. Again, we’re anxious to get this over with, because we know how much work we have to do. We know what we need to do, and we’re ready."
On if the workouts have accomplished more than just building camaraderie: "I think everybody understands they’ve been work trips. When guys put forth effort like that, that shows a lot about our team, the character of the guys on our team, to be willing to do that. We’ve got to go get our own insurance, it’s on our own money to do this kind of stuff. Obviously, we help out, we help each other, guys who need (financial) help. It’s on our own. And that speaks volumes for them to do that. So I’m real proud of those guys and that’s going to get us somewhere."
On if the players have come together without the coaches present: "I think naturally anytime that happens that will help. It will help build chemistry. You get to know the guys a little better. I know it’s been important for me because last year was good, but the whole offseason, the whole first part of the season I was taking no reps with those guys. I really didn’t know those guys as well as I wanted to and as a quarterback should. So this time has been huge. Yeah, I played with them, but now we kind of realize, 'OK. Here’s what we’re doing. Here’s what we see. Lay it out.' Now let’s set our goals, and let’s go do it. That’s really what these times have been about, is working hard, growing with each other, learning the West Coast and really kind of developing as much as we can without our coaches there."
On why he decided to take charge this offseason: "That's part of your responsibility. It's part of playing quarterback. You're supposed to figure out a way to lead your team to a win every Sunday. And I feel like the preparation and the things that you do now are things that can only help you on Sundays. What we do now, I don't know how big a difference it's going to make, but it's going to make a positive difference for us if anything. Wins are the only thing that matters to me, and it's pretty evident through all of the effort and time that my teammates have put in that that's their goal too, so that's what it's all about."
On how much having all the offensive-skill-position players attend the workouts will help: "It will. It will. You can't really say, 'Oh this is going to make our season.' That's not something you can say by us getting together. Us getting together just shows a commitment, shows the desire that we have to change what's been going on here for awhile and last year -- (finishing with a record of) 5-11 -- that's not what we want to do. So you can see that the guys that are willing to do this four or five times in the offseason when we're locked out, when we don't have coaches, when we're learning a new system. We want to be ahead of the game, and that's the reason we're getting together."
On if he's happy with the turnout for the recent full-squad workouts: "The turnout was great and like I said, those guys have really been dedicated this summer. We've worked really hard. I can't say enough about them. Make sure you praise those guys for being able to be willing to do this. To me that means a lot, especially organizing it, getting it together, for those guys to be on top of it like that, that makes me know that we've got something special going."
On if he's always been a natural leader: "Honestly, it's a little bit similar to college. In the summertime in college, you can't be around your coaches, either. You organize some seven-on-sevens, you get guys together, but everybody's in the same location, in school together. You work out together. Your strength coaches are there. Now it's a much larger scale, and the thing I've learned about the NFL in eight games is it's a production business. Guys who produce stay, and when you win, good things happen and that's our goal. We want to win."
On if the West Coast offense caters to his strengths: "It's a good question. The West Coast is very similar to what I ran in college. We ran a West Coast system when I was in college. A little bit different lingo, little bit different language, but protections, routes, the feel, the rhythm, the timing part of the West Coast, it's all the same, and I do feel confident in that. I feel comfortable in that, and we won a lot of games that way. Obviously, the NFL is different than college, and it's a little bit different game. But I do feel very comfortable in what we're trying to do and the playbook and stuff that I do have. It's very similar."