Browns President Mike Holmgren and quarterback Colt McCoy recently conducted radio interviews on WKNR (850-AM). Holmgren was featured on "The Really Big Show" this afternoon, and McCoy was a guest on Thursday.
Here are some of the highlights from the interviews (the transcript of McCoy's interview is from SportsRadioInterviews.com):
On the possibility of NFL owners and players striking a labor deal soon: "The people negotiating the contract on both sides, they're keeping it very close," Holmgren said. "It's a big deal, as you know. They've worked so hard to get this thing done. Both sides want to get it done, I'm sure. And I was encouraged today by the fact that it sounded like there were some big issues that they're coming very, very close to an agreement on, if not agreeing to. So I have to go to a meeting in Atlanta on next Thursday, the 21st, and it's an owners meeting. I'm hopeful that we have something to vote on. Now, we don't know. I'm telling you exactly what I know, but I'm hopeful that next Thursday might be something that we can get done, and then get on with something that we all want. The fans want it. We want it. The players want it. Football is fun. Let's get going."
On if he's concerned that the Browns, who have a new coaching staff along with new offensive and defensive systems, are one of the teams most affected by the lockout: "I think our players have done a nice job of getting together, led by (linebacker) Scott Fujita with the defensive guys and Colt McCoy on offense," Holmgren said. "They've done a nice job of keeping the team together and working out. I'm sure they're gonna come in in shape. And (coach) Pat (Shurmur) and his staff have worked very hard to get everything in place, so when it tips off, we're gonna be as prepared as anybody. Now, we're young. That's the thing. But our coaches have done a nice job, and (General Manager) Tom Heckert (has free-agency plans) lined up because we're not gonna have much time. Once (a new collective bargaining agreement) gets settled, we're not gonna have much time to do that."
On if free agency is going to be a frenzy because of the lockout: "Yeah, I think it's gonna be a little bit wild," Holmgren said. "But it is what it is. As I told our guys, you can either (complain) about it and worry about it, or you can say, "OK. This is what it is," prepare for it and then when it happens, we're diving in. We're ready to go, and I am confident that we are in a position to do what we have to do. But, yeah, it'll be quite different. There's no question about that."
On if McCoy will get the whole season, even if he starts with a record of 1-7, to be the Browns' starting quarterback: "I would be very disappointed if he started 1-7, but I think this young man proved last year that he deserves the chance to show us, at the very least," Holmgren said. "I was very encouraged by the stuff I saw last year. Having not practiced very much, he came in and did a fine job. Now, he played like a rookie at times, which was understandable. But fortunately, we have Seneca Wallace also on the team, and we're not finished at the quarterback position yet. So, I think, it's always been my experience with quarterbacks, you make a commitment. He makes a commitment to you, the club makes a commitment to the player and then you give him time to develop. Now, sometimes there's bumps in the road, but you give him time to develop if you believe he has a chance to be the guy. So we're gonna do that, I'm sure."
On if Browns need a veteran, established, No. 1 wide receiver to help McCoy: "You know we thought about it," Holmgren said. "We drafted a young man I think can be very, very good for us in (Greg) Little. And I really think the new offense that Pat (Shurmur) is going to install will be more wide-receiver friendly. I'm not sure that our fans (have) seen the best of what we already have, so I think both (Mohamed) Massaquoi and (Brian) Robiskie and our other young guys, I think they will get a chance to show better in this offense because it's more wide-receiver friendly."
On 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," McCoy said. "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 being criticized by some outsiders: "Well, I mean I think it’s something that honestly it kinda goes in one ear and out the other," McCoy said. "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 (me) down. I know what I can do and our team can do, and that’s what I spend my time focusing on."
On if he thinks the West Coast offense is a perfect fit for his style of play: "Yeah, I really do," McCoy said. "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 (players-only workouts, otherwise known as "Camp Colt") 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 OTAs 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 (in Austin, Texas), 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 (defense) 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."
On his expectations for the 2011 season: "My expectations will never change since I started college and since I got into the NFL, and that’s to win," McCoy said. "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 jell 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."
On if national pundits having low expectations for the Browns is something that fuels the team: "If that kind of stuff doesn’t motivate you, then you’re not a competitor," McCoy said. "That all fuels the fire a little bit."
On how his throwing shoulder, which he injured in the final game of his college career, is feeling: "Shoulder is feeling really good, and that’s a huge positive this offseason," McCoy said.
On if his shoulder is back to 100 percent after bothering him at times last season: "Yes. Oh, yeah," McCoy said. "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 is against (the) Pittsburgh (Steelers). 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.”