The following is a documented transcript of a conversation between Browns GM Mike Holmgren and head coach Eric Mangini over his decision to start Colt McCoy this Sunday versus Pittsburgh… in Pittsburgh… it’s his first start ever… DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE LONG TERM RAMIFACATIONS OF THIS IF THE STEELERS WERE TOO KILL HIM ON SUNDAY? Anyway, this was taken Thursday in Berea, Ohio.
Eric Mangini: Hey Mike how are ya?
Mike Holmgren: Don’t call me Mike.
EM: sorry. Um I’m sure that you’ve seen the quarterback situation we have right now.
MH: yep, I know. But don’t worry; we’re looking at some options right now. Maybe Alex Smith if he keeps bombing in San Francisco or Matt Leinart in Houston, if he can actually throw the ball downfield.
EM: actually coach I was thinking of starting Colt this Sunday.
EM: yeah. I think he’s ready Mi—um Mr. Holmgren. He went 13-13 in his last preseason start, he’s always been accurate and I think it’s time to throw him into the fire.
MH: you do realize that you’re playing Pittsburgh this week right?
EM: yeah, but we beat em last year, with Derek Anderson no less.
(They both shudder at the mentioning of Derek Anderson’s name)
EM: I think it’s the perfect opportunity for him and us.
MH: sit down Eric (he sits). When I took this job I knew it would be challenging, I mean it’s the Browns. The last time they won anything a guy named Jim Brown was the best running back in the NFL and hot dogs were ten cents. Hell no one in Cleveland has won anything in 50 years. It’s downright depressing. The shot, the drive, the fumble, the decision, Jose Mesa, I mean even Drew Carry blew town…
EM: um… this is kind of depressing.
(Holmgren just looks at Mangini)
MH: where was I… oh yeah. Then there was Art Modell taking the team to Baltimore and then they win a Super Bowl. This team gets Tim Couch. Fail. Now after listening to all of that do you really think it’s a good idea to start what possibly could be the only good quarterback that this team has had since Bernie Kosar in a game against the most athletic, talented and scariest defense in the NFL? Do you really want to make his first game in the NFL one that could affect his psyche for a long time?
EM: gosh, I haven’t thought of that.
EM: but coach, Sam Bradford is playing well as a starter, and Carolina put Jimmy Clausen in because they feel like he’s ready. Granted that entire team is a train wreck and Jimmy has looked like Casey Clausen so far, but they’re getting a shot at least. Also who’s out there to get and turn into a starter. The Jaguars jumped on Trent Edwards to make him David Garrard’s backup. Trent Edwards… captain check down… the guy that lost his starting job to a guy from Harvard.
MH: how does that guy keep getting starting jobs in the NFL?
(They both look up in amazement that Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting again in the NFL… I don’t blame them. Then again if Todd Collins is still throwing passes and Carson Palmer is still allowed to throw than nothing should really amaze me.)
EM: anyway. You see my point? Plus our skill players would be ok with it cuz they played with crappy quarterbacks in college. Brian Robiskie with Todd Boeckman, Mohammed Massoquoi with Matt Stafford, Peyton Hillis with Casey Dick…
MH: and you’re used to having crappy quarterbacks.
EM: hey you brought in Jake Delhomme after watching him lose his job to Matt Moore… MATT MOORE!
(Holmgren utters fail under his breath.)
EM: besides have you seen our schedule coming up? I was sure we were going to beat Kansas City and Tampa Bay, but we could possibly be 1-9 by mid November. We’re not going anywhere…
EM: we might as well get everyone ready for next year.
MH: again. (Under his breath). Except you might not be here next year.
EM: did you say something?
MH: no. just um… thinking.
MH: about Bill Cowher.
(Mangini looks at Holmgren who smiles back at Mangini.)
MH: you are right though. There is nothing out there to make us better. Maybe we should throw him into the fire and see what happens. He can’t be worse than Brady Quinn.
EM: so I can start him?
MH: eh sure why not? (Under his breath). It’ll be your last mistake.
EM: yes! Thanks coach. We’ll be ready for Pittsburgh on Sunday! The colt McCoy era is about to begin!
MH: yeah and it might end just as quick.
(Mangini leaves the office. Just then Holmgren receives a call. It’s Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman.)
Rick Spielman: hey it’s Rick over here in Minneapolis. I hear you need a quarterback this year.
MH: yeah. Who you got? I really don’t want this McCoy kid starting Sunday.
RS: well, what are you willing to give up for Brett Favre?
(Holmgren promptly hangs up the phone.)
MH: you know what, maybe starting McCoy aint such a bad idea after all?