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Holmgren says he's 'not down' on McCoy

It doesn't matter what you think of Colt McCoy as a quarterback. You have to feel for a guy whose season ended with a nasty shot to the head by James Harrison, and whose offseason started with a blow to the ego by Browns president Mike Holmgren.

Last week, Holmgren told season-ticket holders that the Browns' aggressive attempt to trade up and draft Robert Griffin III was rebuffed because of a close relationship between the Rams and Redskins. In other words, the Browns wanted their franchise quarterback to be RG3, not McCoy.

In his first public comments since that conference call with fans, Holmgren sought to put the best face on an uncomfortable situation now that his second-choice at quarterback could very well end up being his starting quarterback this season.

"I know Colt as a person. He’ll respond as well as anyone in the world to this,'' Holmgren told Seattle radio station KJR on Monday, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I think he's a competitive guy. He understands this business. He and I had a really good talk before he left in the offseason. And he knew there was going to be competition coming into this next offseason and next training camp."

Holmgren added, "I think if you’re just honest with him, then they’ll be able to handle most things. Is there a little side to any of the players that gets touched by something like that? In all honesty, there probably is. But, you know what? It’s a business and you got to bounce back. And how you bounce back determines what kind of a guy you are."

If Holmgren really wants to help McCoy "respond," he needs to give him answers to some important questions. Who is his starting running back? Who is his No. 1 receiver? Who is his right tackle?

The Browns decided to pass on those positions in free agency, allowing Pierre Garcon, Mario Manningham and Eric Winston sign elsewhere. They can address some of these questions in the draft if they take wide receiver Justin Blackmon or running back Trent Richardson with the fourth overall pick.

"I like Colt McCoy as a player,'' Holmgren told the radio station. "I think he’s a fine player, and has a chance to be a fine player in this league. Last year, I thought one, he got beat up pretty good. We didn’t protect him quite as well. I thought our running game after Peyton Hillis got hurt wasn’t helping him enough in my opinion. And then we had the lockout."

Holmgren added, "So you had a new coach, new system, new quarterbacks. You put all that together and I think it was a little bit of a short deck. So, I’m not down on Colt McCoy at all. But I will always -- and as long as I’m in a position like this -- we are always going to look for quarterbacks. Make that pile a little bit bigger. Try to create some competition. To try and bring the best out of the people you already have."