McCoy among rare rookie QBs to start vs. Ravens

Last was Trent Edwards in 2007; under Harbaugh, Ravens are 4-0 against QBs with less than 3 years of experience

  • The Browns' Colt McCoy is the first rookie quarterback to start against the Ravens since they lost to Trent Edwards in 2007.
The Browns' Colt McCoy is the first rookie quarterback… (Al Behrman / Associated…)
December 23, 2010|By Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun

A week after beating a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, the Ravens face the opposite extreme at Cleveland — rookie quarterback Colt McCoy.

This marks the first time in John Harbaugh's three seasons that a quarterback in his first NFL season will start against the Ravens. The last rookie quarterback to start against the Ravens was Buffalo's Trent Edwards, who beat the Ravens on Oct. 21, 2007.

The quarterbacks that the Ravens have faced in the Harbaugh era have been more renown than raw. Since the start of 2008, the Ravens have played 14 Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. In contrast, they've gone against four starting quarterbacks who've had less than three years of NFL experience.

The Ravens have dominated those young starting quarterbacks, going 4-0 against Oakland's JaMarcus Russell (2007), Pittsburgh's Dennis Dixon (2009), the New York Jets' Mark Sanchez (2010) and Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman (2010).

Only one has completed more than half of his passes against the Ravens (Freeman). Only one has produced more than 165 yards passing against them (Russell). And no one has thrown more than one touchdown in a game against them.

Against the Ravens, those four quarterbacks have completed 48.6 percent of their throws and have averaged 152.2 yards passing. The combined quarterback rating against the Ravens is 66.9.

The key to beating younger quarterbacks is to confuse them.

"You want to make sure he doesn't see it like he saw it on the blackboard," defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. "Our thing is to mix up pressure and mix up four-man rush, five-man rush and three-man rush. Just don't give him a steady diet. You want to make him as uncomfortable as you can."

McCoy isn't the only young quarterback getting an opportunity this season. There have been eight rookies who have started or received significant playing time in 2010.

The range has gone from the good (St. Louis' Sam Bradford has passed for 3,065 yards) to the bad (Carolina's Jimmy Clausen has averaged 118.5 yards passing) to the ugly (Arizona's Max Hall has thrown one touchdown and six interceptions).

McCoy has had moderate success in six starts despite not having ideal size or arm strength. The 6-foot-1 quarterback has completed 65.8 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and three interceptions (93.0 quarterback rating).

"I expect to see a lot of pressure," McCoy said of Sunday's game against the Ravens. "I see them coming after us a little bit. How we handle that is going to determine how successful we are in the game."

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