Browns' McCoy hungry to win

By Tom Withers

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 4 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy (12) looks to pass as Tennessee Titans defensive end Dave Ball (98) closes in during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011, in Cleveland.

Amy Sancetta, Associated Press

BEREA, Ohio — Colt McCoy counts on ice to soothe his aches and pains, the hurt produced by some snarling 280-pound defensive end throwing him to the ground.

However, Cleveland's young quarterback hasn't found any cure to the deepest wound.

Losing gnaws at McCoy's soul.

"I hate it," he said.

Only four games into his second NFL season, McCoy has already lost as many games as the Browns' starter as he did in four years at Texas, where he finished his college career as the winningest QB in NCAA history.

The losses keep McCoy awake at night, causing the perfectionist to toss and turn as he rewinds play after play in his mind.

McCoy doesn't have to worry about an upcoming sleepless Sunday as the Browns (2-2) have a bye this week. But that doesn't mean he's taking a vacation. McCoy, who attempted a team record 61 passes in last week's 31-13 loss to Tennessee, is using the time to analyze his performance.

"Nothing," he said, "has been easy."

McCoy's first four games in the new West Coast offense coach Pat Shurmur installed have been shaky.

He's completed 58 percent of his passes (100 of 172) for 984 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions — respectable numbers. At times, McCoy has looked sharp and seasoned. At others, he's looked lost.

The Browns are devoting this season to developing McCoy, who went 2-6 last season after being thrust into the starting lineup because of injuries.

They knew it would take time for him to learn Shurmur's system, and because of the NFL lockout, McCoy didn't have a full offseason to work with his receivers or Cleveland's coaches.

It's taking time, and Shurmur knows better than to rush the process.

He's teaching McCoy and preaching patience.

"He's a young player and in my mind, almost a rookie," Shurmur said Wednesday. "So his improvement can be great from practice to practice and game to game."

Or from snap to snap. McCoy feels he's getting better every time he touches the ball, and he agrees with Shurmur's assertion that with just 12 starts on his pro resume, he's the equivalent of a first-year player. And, he's not alone. Every player on Cleveland's offense is starting over.

"You look across the receiver room, nobody has been in the West Coast," McCoy said.

"You look at the tight ends. In a sense, we're all learning with a rookie quarterback. We've got a lot of room for improvement. We've got to figure things out, what works best, what receivers run the best routes at what spot, running backs, what's our best run schemes.

"Our bye has come at a good time where we can look at some things. I think the ceiling is tremendously high. I believe that. We've just all got to continue to play together, continue to get to know each other and just move on."

McCoy's teammates believe he has grown, and will continue to blossom.

Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas has been impressed with McCoy's ability to grasp the new offense and all its complexities.

"Every week he seems more comfortable in the huddle," Thomas said.

"He's more comfortable with the plays that we're running and just kind of the whole offense. He really has improved from week to week and what's exciting for me to see is where he is now versus where he was at the start of the season — and where he's going to be at the end of the year."

That's assuming McCoy's in one piece.

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