Why San Francisco 49ers’ Colt McCoy is Not an NFL Quarterback

Colt McCoy

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colt McCoy has been a clear disappointment at the pro level. He shouldn’t be considered as the No. 2 behind Colin Kaepernick and arguably should be cut before the season starts.

McCoy injured his throwing shoulder Thursday against the Denver Broncos and underwent an MRI. While the results of the MRI haven’t been reported, McCoy returned to the practice field Saturday in a blue no-contact jersey. He told the Sacramento Bee that he suffered a “stinger,” and Head Coach Jim Harbaugh said he should be “back in the mix” before too long.

McCoy’s throwing shoulder was injured in the BCS Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2010, and he has admitted his shoulder has never been 100 percent since. This coming from a guy who already possessed a weak arm by NFL standards, should give the 49ers pause.

McCoy played his first two seasons as the Cleveland Browns‘ starter before being supplanted by now second-year starter Brandon Weeden last season. He threw 21 TD and 20 INT in 24 games played and suffered multiple injuries behind a porous offensive line in his time with the Browns. Cleveland had no issue parting ways with McCoy in the offseason and actually attempted to do so before last season began.

In his time in Cleveland McCoy demonstrated clearly that he can’t throw the ball outside the hash-marks. Whether it be because of his shoulder never fully recovered or simply because he was not blessed with enough arm talent, it shouldn’t matter to Harbaugh or the 49ers. This guy is not an NFL quarterback.

Remember, just last year Alex Smith was benched in favor of the gifted Kaepernick not only because of Kaepernick’s ability to make plays with his feet, but also because he opened up the playbook with his big arm.

Being able to drive the ball down-field on deep corner and crossing routes is important in this offense, and that’s something McCoy never could do with any consistency. If Kaepernick were to get hurt, the 49ers would be stuck reverting to a ball control style of offense with McCoy as the backup. In today’s NFL, that only gets you so far. The bottom line is, McCoy simply can’t throw the ball the way you need to as an NFL quarterback.

McCoy is currently competing with Scott Tolzien for the backup job. However, Harbaugh should seriously consider the rookie B.J. Daniels over both Tolzien and McCoy.

Daniels possesses a much bigger arm than both McCoy and Tolzein along with outstanding athletic ability. It makes much more sense to groom Daniels as the backup given his abilities — which are much more like Kaepernick’s — than it does to groom either of the other QBs on the roster. Daniels didn’t see any time on the field in the 49ers’ preseason opener against the Broncos.

McCoy is a No. 3 masquerading as a No. 2 QB. Let’s hope Harbaugh isn’t the last one to notice it.

Will Reeve is a 49ers  writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @WillReeveJr, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google


Around the Web

  • Harvey Williams

    I don’t believe you know what you’re talking about. McCoy led Texas and set records as their quarterback. You fail to mention the Browns led the league in dropped passes in 2011. He also had the opportunity to play for a different head coach in each of the past three years. I say open up the back up position and let all three compete and let the chips fall. One last thing, I do believe he has the football leadership qualities and IQ to lead the 49′ers should Colin go down.

    • Guest

      Colt was a great college quarterback. However, after his performances in the NFL with the Browns, so far in this training camp and in the preseason opener against The Broncos; I’m simply not convinced he’s a viable No. 2.

      He lacks the two most important attributes a quarterback can have: arm strength and accuracy. He floated a very poor deep throw against the Broncos that was intercepted and missed a short pass on a crossing route by five yards before getting injured again later. All of these things have been recurring themes in his NFL career.That said, he’s a very classy man and a good teammate. Harbaugh has made it clear that this is an open battle between all three men before the game, and I support that.Leave a message…

    • Will Reeve

      Colt was a great college quarterback. However, after his performances in the NFL with the Browns, so far in this training camp and in the preseason opener against The Broncos; I’m simply not convinced he’s a viable No. 2.

      He lacks the two most important attributes a quarterback can have: arm strength and accuracy. He floated a very poor deep throw against the Broncos that was intercepted, and missed a short pass on a crossing route by five yards before getting injured again later.

      All of these things have been recurring themes in his NFL career.That said, he’s a very classy man and a good teammate. Harbaugh has made it clear that this is an open battle between all three men before the game, and I fully support that.

    • bpolhemus

      OMG, the “dropped passes” excuse! Spare me!

      College football is NOT NFL football. Most of the people who make the argument that a so-so QB “has the leadership skills” or “athleticism” to succeed in the NFL based on their college career, are college football-only geeks, T-shirt fans who don’t actually follow the NFL at all.

      When VY was drafted, I had an ongoing dispute with several folks on various Houston sports blogs. It started out good-naturedly, but it soon became obvious that these were UT T-shirters who based everything they said on the emotions they experienced when UT won the 2005 BCS.

      I finally came right out and said it: “Vince Young’s role will be as a back-up QB. He will never be a starter.”

      The weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth would rival the seventh circle of Hell.

      Look, I appreciate that you’re a UT fan, and therefore any UT player is golden in your mind. I would suggest you go back and look at UT highlight reels, and leave the analysis of the capabilities of players in the NFL to those who actually FOLLOW the NFL.

      You will never take away that BCS championship from VY. But you will never see him – or Colt McCoy – succeed in the NFL. That’s just FACT. Surely you can sleep at night even if.

  • Guest

    @disqus_kV4OrOVbeH:disqus Colt was a great college quarterback. However, after his performances in the NFL with the Browns, so far in this training camp and in the preseason opener against The Broncos; I’m simply not convinced he’s a viable No. 2.

    He lacks the two most important attributes a quarterback can have: arm strength and accuracy. He floated a very poor deep throw against the Broncos that was intercepted and missed a short pass on a crossing route by five yards before getting injured again later. All of these things have been recurring themes in his NFL career.

    That said, he’s a very classy man and a good teammate. Harbaugh has made it clear that this is an open battle between all three men before the game, and I support that.

  • Tim Mc

    This article seems to be based on the idea that the 49ers offense is built on the long passing game. Obviously it is awesome that Kaep adds that dimension, but we’re not talking about the Packers here. The niners still have the o-line and RBs to run a very effective run first offense.

    “If Kaepernick were to get hurt, the 49ers would be stuck reverting to a ball control style of offense with McCoy as the backup. In today’s NFL, that only gets you so far.” Like to the NFC championship game?

    • bpolhemus

      You have to be able to throw the ball in the NFL. Yes, EVEN THOUGH the “read” offense is sneaking in there. But that offense will only work if you build a team around it. The 49ers aren’t about to do that.

      What you seem to say is “oh, if Kaepernick goes down, it’s okay, they can just install a brand-new offense for McCoy’s benefit and proceed from there.”

      Recipe for disaster.

      • Mike R Sawyer

        to an extent I agree with most of what you are saying bpolhemus but if you remember correctly that was the offense that SF was running before Kaep emerged and they adjusted just fine when he did. If they had to revert back its not like they are strangers to it.

  • honestyisbest2

    Colt is an athletic guy with an accurate arm. Also, his arm strength is so underrated. The receivers in Cleveland were awful, and the coaches were incapable. I hope the 49er fans appreciate him and give him the opportunity he so deserves. Go Texas.

  • GODFREE HOUSTONA

    PAYTON manning couldn’t of succeeded in Cleveland when colt was there, they had the worst receivers in the league !!!