By Tony Grossi
The Morning Kickoff …
Countdown to training camp (cont.): This is one of a series of lists leading up to the opening of Browns training camp next month.
Today we look at the NFL teams that should have a legitimate interest in trading for Colt McCoy. There are more than I originally thought. Teams that play in a dome stadium lead off our list. McCoy has a better chance of success in the controlled conditions indoors, which wouldn’t tax his questionable arm strength.
New Orleans Saints: The Drew Brees contract situation will come to a head next month. In the meantime, untested backup Chase Daniel suffered a hairline fracture on his right (throwing) thumb on the last practice of the offseason. The other QB on the roster is 2004 Browns fourth-round draft pick Luke McCown. This team is the right fit. It has a fondness for short QBs and plays in a dome.
St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, McCoy’s No. 1 college rival, is on his third offensive coordinator in three seasons. McCoy can relate to that. The backup is Kellen Clemens, who has thrown seven touchdowns v. 12 interceptions in six forgettable NFL seasons. Bradford and McCoy have become friends as pros and they share some common NFL experiences (mostly bad).
Indianapolis Colts: You would think this team would have learned not leave itself shortchanged at backup quarterback. Think again. The Colts’ backup to rookie franchise QB Andrew Luck is Drew Stanton – he of the 63.1 passer rating in four moribund years in Detroit. What’s more, the Colts actually traded for Stanton after he spent a week with the Jets and was FedEx’ed out when the Jets acquired Tim Tebow.
Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan has been an iron man for four seasons at quarterback. But a Super Bowl contender – which is what the Falcons now consider themselves – shouldn’t be caught with Chris Redman as its top backup QB. Redman, who proceeded Ryan to Atlanta via Baltimore, has a 4-8 career mark as a starter in eight NFL seasons. Come to think of it, that is better than McCoy’s 5-16 record.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: New coach Greg Schiano understandably is pre-occupied with turning big-armed starter Josh Freeman in the right direction. New coordinator Ron Turner dabbles in the West Coast offensive system, which better suits McCoy than current backup Dan Orlovsky. Orlovsky did have a “career year” in 2011 when he won two starts in five games for the Colts.
San Diego Chargers: Another playoff contender that is rolling the dice at backup quarterback. Behind Philip Rivers they have none other than Charlie Whitehurst – yes, THE Charlie Whitehurst who laid a 12-of-30, 92-yard egg in Cleveland Browns Stadium last season while with the Seahawks. The Chargers, who actually drafted Whitehurst in the third round in 2006, re-signed him after the Seahawks ended their costly, two-year infatuation with the bearded chucker.
Green Bay Packers: After allowing Aaron Rodgers backup Matt Flynn to leave to Seattle in free agency, Packers GM Ted Thompson has stubbornly declined to add a veteran backup. He drafted B.J. Coleman of Tennessee-Chattanooga, a project, in the seventh round. The backup job is in the hands of Graham Harrell – the one-time Eric Mangini rookie camp invitee who set records at Texas Tech despite possessing a rag arm. Harrell has been in the Packers’ system now for two years. Coach Mike McCarthy admitted the preseason games will be a key test for Harrell.
Denver Broncos: What if Peyton Manning’s neck problems return after three surgeries? What if Manning, at age 36, has lost the recuperative powers that enabled him to make an NFL-record 208 consecutive regular-season starts over 13 seasons in Indianapolis? What then, John Elway? Well, the Broncos president signed ex-Bears Caleb Hanie and drafted Brock Osweiler. Hanie’s passer rating in four NFL seasons is 41.6.
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There are no games scheduled for today.