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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2010

Browns' young Colt taking slow steps

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BEREA, Ohio - As the Cleveland Browns sweat through another steamy training camp practice, Colt McCoy stands on the sideline with his arms folded.

He's watching, waiting.

This is all new for McCoy, the former Texas star who won more games than any other quarterback in college football history. He's a third-stringer now, buried on Cleveland's depth chart below starter Jake Delhomme and backup Seneca Wallace.

"It's hard," he said.

It's not going to get easier anytime soon for McCoy, either. Barring injuries, he's slated to spend the season in an understudy's role, learning how to play the NFL's most demanding and challenging position as a third-stringer. It's going to take some getting used to.

"It's definitely something I've got to work on and I've got to learn," said McCoy, who slid to the third round in April's draft before being snatched by the Browns. "It is hard, especially over the last four years where you've taken every rep and every snap in every game. I just got to get used to it because it's going to be the same way all season and I've got to be ready to go and make some plays."

While waiting for his time to come, McCoy has immersed himself in Cleveland's thick playbook. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a chapter dedicated to patience. McCoy admits that isn't one of his virtues. Given an assignment, he would prefer to knock it out and move on to the next one.

He doesn't have that luxury anymore.

McCoy is starting from scratch as a pro.

"I think it's universal for most rookies," he said after practice earlier this week. "Some rookies step right in and play. Hats off to them. I'm just trying to be the best I can be in the situation that I'm in and when it's time, it's time."

McCoy, who threw for more than 13,000 yards and 112 touchdowns with the Longhorns, would like nothing more than to play immediately. But he understands his current status and is tapping into Delhomme and Wallace's experience to make him a better player.

Delhomme remembers what it's like to be a wide-eyed rookie, lost in the dizzying speed of a game moving at warp speed compared to college ball. Delhomme has been impressed with McCoy's eagerness to learn and passion to improve. He's willing to mentor and help the 23-year-old's transition.

"He's very intelligent, that's one thing you can tell just being in meetings, and it's important to him," Delhomme said. "If it's not important to somebody, then they're really not going to give you everything they have. He wants to be good. He's not getting a whole lot of reps right now, but he's doing a really good job."

Delhomme never saw the field as a rookie in 1998 with New Orleans, and he didn't make his first start until his sixth year when he was with Carolina. He knows what McCoy is going through.

"It's hard," he said. "I did the same thing. I started all four years in high school and all four years in college. You get to the NFL, I was on a knee for 90 percent of the practice just watching. It's a major adjustment. There's no other way around it."

PLAYERS HURT: Browns starting cornerback Eric Wright was kept out of practice after injuring his right leg during Cleveland's morning workout.

Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson left the practice field with a potentially serious injury. Jackson, who missed the final 10 games last season with a torn pectoral muscle, walked dejectedly off the field during the second session.

ALLEN PARK, Mich. - After suffering through the hottest day of training camp, the Detroit Lions were ready Tuesday to take out their frustrations on someone else.

Unfortunately for them, they still had several days to wait before Saturday's preseason opener in Pittsburgh.

"When you've been practicing day after day against the same guys, there are things that build up that you can really only blow off by hitting someone," linebacker Jordon Dizon said. "That's why we look forward to the preseason games."

Dizon, though, is one of many players in Detroit's camp that has another reason to focus on the Steelers: trying to win a roster spot and playing time on a team that has lost an NFL-record 30 games in the past two seasons.

"The first preseason game is always a huge measuring stick," said Dizon, a second-round pick in 2008. "When you get out there against another team, you learn a lot about where you are as a player, as a unit and as a team. You don't learn as much playing against your teammates."

At linebacker, Dizon plays in one of Detroit's most unsettled position groups. The other is the defensive backfield, which returns just one starter from last season.

Cornerback Jonathan Wade had an outstanding practice Tuesday, playing tough defense against Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson in one-on-one drills, but he's also waiting for the Steelers game.

"Saturday is going to be huge, because we'll be going at game speed against someone else," he said. "Our receivers are so good that they can prepare us to go up against anyone, but you don't really know how far you've come until you go out there and perform in a game. We know we haven't come far enough, but this will let us find out how far we've still got to go."

Lions coach Jim Schwartz acknowledges Saturday's game is important but won't let it dominate his decisions about the roster and the depth chart.

"We're going to judge players on their whole body of work, and the games are weighted the same as their performances on the practice field and in the meeting rooms," he said.



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