There were times in Sunday's 19-17 loss at Cincinnati that Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy might have reminded fans of Tim Couch in his first year in 1999. Especially when McCoy was sacked four times.
But coach Eric Mangini didn't think McCoy was going through the stage where he was being too careful not to throw an interception and holding the ball too long. He's been sacked 19 times in six games.
“No, I don’t think that’s the case,'' Mangini said. "I thought he made good decisions. This game for us, offensively, is a heavy-pressure team with a lot of different looks. You’d love to be able to throw it away in those situations, but it got a little cloudy in the pocket a couple of those times, and I don’t think he could’ve gotten rid of it.
"I thought that, over the course of the game, he made really good decisions and played pretty efficiently. He protected the football — not really to the point of being (overly) cautious, but he made some smart decisions.”
McCoy's quarterback rating of 93.0 is better than the other two who have started for the Browns this season -- Jake Delhomme (63.4) and Seneca Wallace (88.4). He also has the highest completion percentage, 65.8, compared to Delhomme's 62.4 and Wallace's 63.0. McCoy's interception percentage of 2.0 is tied with Wallace, much better than Delhomme's 4.7.
But McCoy is also proving to be lucky as well as good. Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers could have picked off his second-down pass to Peyton Hillis on the Browns' first drive, on a play that looked like it would have been a pick-six for Rivers. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph had a chance at a McCoy bomb for Joshua Cribbs on the next series. A Bengal also had a chance for a pick six on a first down throw to Brian Robiskie early in the fourth quarter. The defender jumped Robiskie's route, but couldn't hold on and Robiskie made a 5-yard grab.
This isn't the first time McCoy has gotten away with a few gutsy throws. But he went without an interception against the Bengals for the fourth time in six starts. He has three in 152 attempts this season.