Peter King in Colt McCoy’s corner

Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy shows his frustration after being sacked against the Houston Texans in the first half at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas on November 6, 2011. The Texans defeated the Browns 30-12. UPI/Aaron M. Sprecher

Colt McCoy’s concussion is the hot topic right now, but the bigger question involves whether the Browns should stick with McCoy next season or draft one of the many quarterback prospects in the 2012 NFL draft. Peter King makes the case that the Browns should stick with Colt McCoy.

The Browns should build around Colt McCoy, not draft a quarterback in 2012 to replace him. I’d seen snippets of McCoy flailing around this year, but hadn’t watched every throw of a game. And so I watched Thursday night to get some sense of the near- and long-term prospects of the former University of Texas quarterback. And I came away thinking the Browns should stick with him and use a rich 2012 draft to finally build the kind of offense around McCoy that any quarterback would need to succeed.

Mike Holmgren is a disciple of Bill Walsh. I remember when Walsh was shown a few plays of Charles Haley rushing the passer at James Madison; he told his scouts he really wanted him. “If we see him make a few plays like this, we can coach him to do it all the time,” Walsh said, and he was proved a prophet — Haley became a top NFL pass-rusher for San Francisco and Dallas.

Well, on Thursday night, I saw McCoy, with limited help from grade-D skill players, make enough plays to convince me he’s not the problem. Now, I realize he made two or three idiotic throws in the second half — and you’re not going to win doing that consistently. But one of the bad throws came after he was concussed and should never have been put back in the game. And those throws have to be addressed.

But he did enough good things that I came away thinking: Use the three picks in the top 40 next April (Cleveland has its own first- and-second-round picks, plus Atlanta’s first-rounder from the Julio Jones deal last April) to help McCoy, not replace him. Three plays showed a mature quarterback making good decisions:

1. On the first series of the game, using play-action, McCoy set up, looked over his options and found tight end Evan Moore down the left side on a crossing route with a step on linebacker Lawrence Timmons. The high-arcing pass settled into Moore’s arms. Gain of 33.

2. Also on the first series, Josh Cribbs found a gap downfield in the left seam and McCoy made a great touch pass over cornerback Ike Taylor. Gain of 25.

3. In the third quarter, on third-and-eight, down 7-3, McCoy faced a five-man rush and moved up in the pocket. Feeling pressure, he threw the ball about five feet to the right of tight end Alex Smith, because that was the only window open to make the throw — Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark and William Gay converged on Smith and seemed ready to pancake him. But the throw was zipped in perfectly, Smith made a diving catch, and the Browns had a first down. Good judgment, great throw.

Of course, we wouldn’t be talking about any of this if McCoy didn’t make some brain-fart throws. But I believe he can be coached out of those — it’s what Bill Walsh would believe, watching him — and I believe some of that stems from the fact that the Browns are a poor offensive team as a whole.

McCoy has holes. He also has a coach, Pat Shurmur, who can correct those, and is in an offense he’s so well-suited to run. He’s well-liked and respected in the locker room. If I’m Browns GM Tom Heckert, I’m looking for an offseason upgrade at wide receiver (the Browns need two), guard, running back and tight end … before I even think about replacing the quarterback.

King makes some solid point. McCoy is a smart quarterback and he’s a gamer. The Browns have been focusing on defense in recent drafts and Tom Heckert has found some good players with Joe Haden, T.J. Ward, Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard. The defense is heading in the right direction.

The offense, however, has been a mess, and Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert will need to sift through the wreckage and figure out a strategy going forward. It’s obvious that there are personnel issues around McCoy. The receivers are mediocre, and while rookie Greg Little has shown some promise, he’s raw and he’s been dropping passes. The running back situation has been marred by the Peyton Hillis soap opera and numerous injuries starting with Brandon Jackson in training camp. Then you have the injury to left guard Eric Steinbach disrupted the offensive line. Throw in a new offense and no offseason to get ready, and it’s no wonder that McCoy and the Browns have struggled.

That said, it has to be tempting to consider Matt Barkley, Robert Griffin III or Landry Jones in the draft next year. This is where Mr. Holmgren needs to earn his huge salary. Heckert will do all the work on the draft, but Holmgren needs to make the big decision on McCoy. If they stick with McCoy, they will easily load up on receivers and other playmakers with all their picks next year. But they also might have a shot at a real franchise quarterback. It’s a tough decision.

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Colt McCoy not Browns’ first choice in third round?

Pat Yasinskas of shared an interesting tidbit the other day about how Colt McCoy wound up being a Cleveland Brown. Apparently McCoy has Corey Peters to thank for that.

Who is Corey Peters you ask? He was the Falcons’ selection at No. 83 in the third round of last week’s draft and had Atlanta not taken him, he more than likely would have ended up a Brown. That’s because according to Yasinskas, Cleveland GM Tom Heckert was “leaning heavily” towards taking Peters with the No. 85 pick, which was the selection Cleveland used to take McCoy.

What’s interesting about this report is that Mike Holmgren wanted McCoy at No. 85. So had the Falcons not intervened and taken Peters at No. 83, there would have likely been a debate between Holmgren and Heckert over whether or not to take McCoy.

It’s also kind of noteworthy that many draft pundits (including Mel Kiper) criticized the Falcons for reaching on Peters (who had a late round grade) in the third round, yet as it turns out, he was wanted by at least two teams (Atlanta and Cleveland). It’s always interesting to hear how things play out in the war room and this story is no different.

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Five reasons Vick makes sense for the Eagles

To the surprise of many, the Eagles went out on a limb and signed free agent quarterback Michael Vick to a one-year, $1.6 million deal with a $5.2 million team option for 2010. Below are five reasons why this move makes sense for Philadelphia.

1. The Eagles are going for broke this season.
This offseason, Philly traded a first round pick to Buffalo in exchange for Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jason Peters and also signed lineman Stacy Andrews. They also added playmakers Jeremy Maclin and LeSean “Shady” McCoy via the draft, so it’s clear that the Eagles are stocking their roster with as much offensive talent as they can. Vick was once highly regarded as the best athlete in the NFL and at $1.6 million, Philly is willing to take the risk in hopes that they just added even more talent to their brimming roster.

2. The Eagles offer a solid support system.
The Eagles have always been a model organization and they wouldn’t have made a move like this if they hadn’t first consulted Tony Dungy (who is mentoring Vick) and weighed all of their options. Vick leaves a lot to be desired as a human being, but Andy Reid, Joe Banner and Tom Heckert must believe that he can turn around his life and are willing to take him in. Plus, one would assume that Vick will be on his best behavior and Reid isn’t going to put up with an attitude. Another key to this situation is Donovan McNabb, who has the respect of his teammates and will certainly take some of the attention away from Vick’s arrival.

3. Kolb’s knee injury maybe worse than the Eagles are letting on.
While Vick doesn’t pose a threat to McNabb’s starting job, he does put pressure on backup Kevin Kolb, who was carted off the practice field at the beginning of the week after spraining his left knee. While reports state that Kolb should be fine, the signing of Vick may indicate that Philadelphia wants some insurance behind McNabb and Vick, despite his two-year playing absence, was the best QB on the market.

Of course, it’s entirely conceivable that the Eagles were working on a contract with Vick before Kolb’s injury, in which case maybe Philly just isn’t that high on Kolb’s development after two years. It’s a shame to think that a team would give up on a 24-year old former second round pick after just two years (especially a quarterback), but maybe the Eagles just don’t see much of a future in Kolb.

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Anquan Boldin to be an Eagle?’s Peter King believes that Anquan Boldin won’t be a Cardinal next season and that the Giants and Eagles are possible trade partners with Arizona.

The Eagles and Giants, two receiver-needy teams, are in position to deal for Anquan Boldin, who I continue to say will not be a Cardinal by July. Philly has 21, 28 and 53, the Giants 29, 45 and 60. I find it hard to believe the Eagles won’t trade for Boldin. Very hard. He’s a perfect fit, and they’ve got the cap room to sign him.

Less than a month ago, Philly GM Tom Heckert said that the Eagles were set at receiver with DeSean Jackson and that’s why the team didn’t pursue free agent T.J. Houshmandzadeh. But Housh is also three years older than Boldin and if the Eagles have had their sights on Anquan this entire time, then Heckert’s comments could have been a smokescreen. As King notes, Philadelphia is certainly in position to offer Arizona decent compensation for Boldin, who could team with Jackson to give Donovan McNabb a quality receiving corps.

Housh and Boldin on Eagles’ radar? Maybe not.

Philadelphia has emerged as a landing spot for free agent wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh and trade bait Anquan Boldin, but according to Eagles’ GM Tom Heckert the team is already set at the wideout position.

T.J. HoushmandzadehPhiladelphia Eagles general manager Tom Heckert tells Fox 29 the team likely won’t be adding a free agent receiver to Donovan McNabb’s arsenal.

“It’s an easy out for everyone to say we need a wide receiver but we did get one – DeSean Jackson,” Heckert said. Jackson was a second-round pick last season.

Heckert believes Jackson is a prime threat at wide receiver and receivers won’t be an issue for the team during the free agent season.

He also said the Donovan McNabb has been at the Eagles training facility daily since the Super Bowl and that he’s been talking regularly with McNabb.

But Heckert was tight lipped about any ongoing contract talks with the star quarterback.

This could just be a smokescreen by Heckert, but then again, this hasn’t been a team that goes out and pursues top dollar wide receivers very often so maybe the GM is speaking honestly.

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