BEREA—What a difference a year makes!
Just a year ago, second-year quarterback Colt McCoy was named as the undisputed starter for the Browns. In April, the Browns spent a first-round draft choice on quarterback Brandon Weeden and now McCoy's future is up in the air.
Weeden is getting almost all of the reps with the first team, while McCoy is getting the reps with the second team. McCoy was interviewed about as often as he was available last year.
This year, it's the fifth day of practices and McCoy met with the media for the first time.
"You guys haven't asked for me," McCoy said smiling.
McCoy had one of his better days at practice. He threw a touchdown to rookie Josh Gordon early in practice and threw a nice crossing route for a score to Travis Benjamin as he got a step on Emanuel Davis in goal line drills. He came back and threw a score to Bert Reed and then to Jordan Cameron as he beat Usama Young.
"I had a great day (practicing)," he said. "I'm still learning, growing and maturing."
Young came back a few moments later and intercepted McCoy in the back of the end zone. McCoy finished his day with a scoring pass to Dan Gronkowski as he slipped by Scott Fujita.
Pat Shurmur said he's noticed in the improvement in McCoy since last season.
"Colt's continuing to improve," Shurmur said. "He's doing things he didn't do a year ago. He's coming to work and working hard and he's more comfortable in his progressions and has command in the huddle.
"I see him look at his first and second option and instead of taking off (running)," he said. "He's going to his third option. He knows what the receivers are doing."
McCoy struggled in the first few practices, but looks like he's throwing the ball better this season.
"I feel I'm throwing the ball well," he said. "I'm not having to worry about knowing where guys are lined up, but knowing where guys will be."
McCoy said he feels much more comfortable this season.
"I've been working my tail off to get better," McCoy said. "I think it's a natural thing. You play a year after no off-season and a lot of times we were just running plays.
"This year, we're running an offense," he said. "We know what we're doing now. It's a natural progression having the same system and the off-season."
McCoy has said he comes out every day as if he's the starter, but it looks more and more that the decision has been made, even though it's not official.
"That's a good question for Pat (Shurmur) or Brad (Childress)," he said. "But, that doesn't mean I'm not going to come out and compete and try to get better.
"That's what I'm supposed to do," he said. "I can't control anything else."
D-Line Getting Thin: Three of the Browns four projected starters going into the off-season program missed practice Wednesday as DE Frostee Rucker joined the list of injured. Shurmur didn't disclose Rucker's injury but did say he would be back ‘soon'. Rucker was wearing a sleeve on his right leg. He joins DL Phil Taylor and DL Ahtyba Rubin on the sideline. The only player practicing that was expected to start was DE Jabaal Sheard. DL Brian Schaefering appeared to have injured his thigh during practice and sat out the remainder with a bag of ice on his right thigh.
Shurmur likes the progression of the two rookies.
"They're doing well," Shurmur said. "Hughes has flashed in the run situations and that's where he's shown up.
"Winn has flashed with his quickness in the pass rush," he said. "I don't want to pigeon hole them as a run stopper or pass rusher, but that's where they've shown up."
Shurmur feels the team has depth at the position.
"We have to roll with a couple of guys," Shurmur said. "I feel good about Rubin (coming back soon) and man the other spot with a couple guys like Hughes, Winn and Paxson."
Injury Update: The list grew as DL Frostee Rucker joined the players who have been out of practice. Rucker joined DL Phil Taylor (pectoral), DL Ahtyba Rubin (pelvis), WR Carlton Mitchell (leg), TE Evan Moore (undisclosed) and FB Eddie Williams (undisclosed) as missing practice. Shurmur did say that Moore and Rubin would return to practice ‘soon' and that Williams would be out ‘a while'.
Single Game Tickets: The Browns put single game tickets for sale Wednesday and announced that the home games with the Eagles, Bills and Steelers have already sold out. They also said that less than 1,000 tickets remained for the Bengals game on Oct. 14.