We all know that Browns president Mike Holmgren said after the draft, that quarterback Colt McCoy wouldn't play this season.
As far as we know, coach Eric Mangini bought into that belief. With Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace ahead of McCoy on the depth chart, why wouldn't Mangini go along with Holmgren?
But that was then and this is now. The Browns are 1-5 and headed for last place in the AFC North Division, unless the Cincinnati Bengals are worse than they've looked to date. Now that McCoy has started one game, why not stick with him for the rest of the season or until he joins Delhomme and Wallace on the injury report?
I hated to go down the quarterback controversy trail after the Browns lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 28-10, last Sunday, but the topic had to be approached. My question to Mangini was: "McCoy wasn't supposed to play at all this year. Now do you want to see more of him?"
"We'll have to see what our quarterback situation is next week before I can say that," Mangini replied in perfect coach-speak.
In other words, there probably has to be a summit meeting in Holmgren's office to decide what plan to follow.
My question to McCoy was along the same line: "You've had a taste of it. You probably don't want to give up that taste?"
McCoy said, "I feel good. We're a team. If I can come in and help this team win, that's what I want to do."
After the back-and-forth decisions surrounding the Derek Anderson-Brady Quinn days in Cleveland, fans should be tired of the way the quarterback position has been improperly managed.
Anderson was and still is a career backup that's made too much money for his lack of talent, despite a few good games in 2007. Quinn ultimately proved to be as bad as Anderson, but a mistake was made in waiting too long to give him an opportunity.
The Browns aren't going to win the Super Bowl with Delhomme or Wallace at quarterback. Now that McCoy has shown that the challenge isn't too big for him, Mangini should stick with him.
McCoy might not be the long-term answer, but the good thing about a bad season is that a front office can find out what it has in its young prospects. Putting McCoy back on the sideline when either Delhomme or Wallace is healthy won't make it easier for management to approach the offseason.
There will be some intriguing quarterback prospects available in the 2011 draft, including Jake Locker of the University of Washington and Andrew Luck of Stanford. If the Browns have an interest in either of the two, they better know what they have in McCoy before pulling the trigger on a quarterback in the first round.
Holmgren obviously knows more about developing quarterbacks than any fan or reporter. He played the position in high school and college. He probably can spot a good quarterback at first sight from reading a player's body language and body mechanics.
If nothing else, McCoy is ready for the NFL in terms of his mental approach. He played in big games before huge crowds at the University of Texas. He's the son of a football coach, which means a lot when scouts begin to break down a prospect.
This business of letting McCoy sit all year made sense when Holmgren first mentioned it last April. Six months later it doesn't make sense to sit McCoy so a couple of injured journeymen can get a few more snaps before their careers end.
McCoy might ultimately prove to be the wrong choice. There are reasons why he slid to late in the third round of the draft before Holmgren basically ordered general manager Tom Heckert to select him.
Then again, he might prove to be the guy to finally settle a position that has been awful since the day the late Al Lerner was named owner.
I'm not sure that will happen, but why wait to get the answer? The Browns need to know as soon as possible if they'll need to select a quarterback in the draft next year or a player at another position.
After all, it's not like there aren't other areas of need.