Scott Fujita: “Colt McCoy just reminded me of a young version of Drew Brees. He was such a natural leader.”October 5, 2011 – 8:15 am by Steven Cuce
The Cleveland Browns bounced back from an awful Week 1 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals to win consecutive games in Weeks 2 and 3 over the Colts and Dolphins. Neither team is exactly world beaters this season, but Cleveland felt confident heading into their critical Week 4 matchup against the Tennessee Titans this past Sunday. The Browns came out flat and failed to rise up to the challenge, and were carved up by Matt Hasselbeck and the Titans offense in a 31-13 loss at home.
Linebacker Scott Fujita understands this is a very young Browns team with some pieces on both sides of the football including Joe Haden and Colt McCoy. Cleveland is left to stew about the disappointing loss this next two weeks during their bye week. Fujita expects the Browns to improve during the extra week of preparation and believes the Browns defense will be ready to play better moving forward as the Browns try to contend in the AFC North.
Scott Fujita joined 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland with Bull & Fox to discuss the Cleveland Browns having to think about their disappointing loss to the Tennessee Titans for two weeks during their bye week, why he gives Tennessee a lot of credit for their performance against Cleveland at home this past Sunday, Joe Haden’s injury being a potentially crucial one for the prospects of the the Browns defense, his impressions of Dick Jauron so far as the defensive coordinator, and how he believes that Colt McCoy is progressing into the next Drew Brees.
It has to be a bummer sitting on the loss to the Tennessee Titans for two weeks now with the bye coming up?
“Oh no doubt about it. When you head into a bye after a really disappointing loss it doesn’t sit real well with you, but I mean this team…we are still young. We are still coming together. We’ve had to put everything together in such a limited window of time and there are certainly some things you would be encouraged about and obviously a lot of things to still clean up on. We still got a long ways to go and that’s what the bye week is for. You go back and self-scout a little bit. You see some of the areas you fell short. You see some of things you did well. You build from that and that’s the best you can do at this point of the season.”
Do you guys give credit to the Tennessee Titans last week or do you guys take most of the blame here?
“I think it is a combination of things. Ultimately we gotta take the blame for it. Tennessee played well. Matt Hasselbeck…I’m actually really happy for him. He’s kind of rejuvenated his career. He jumped right into the program and is playing outstanding. I am happy for him. I’m just kind of pissed off it happened on our watch. The missed tackles…those things happen in this league. You are playing against good players each week. Those guys on the other side of the ball get paid too. What it comes down to and I’m speaking for the defense is big plays. That is one of the areas we’ve been so strong so far this season. If you let three or four big plays get behind you and you are going to loss every single time. You cannot let that happen because that lets the game get out of control. You need to make those offenses earn everything they get. That’s kind of where we have been successful is making the offenses go the long and hard way, but when they do get down to the red zone you play good red zone defense and force field goals. The big plays just killed us this week.”
How crucial of a loss will it be if Joe Haden is out long term?
“Well I think Joe Haden is growing into becoming really one of the premiere cover corners in the league. Just look at his ball skills. The plays he makes on the ball, disrupting passes, he gets to a point where he can shut down one side of the field. That’s impressive and he helps do so many things defensively, so hopefully we can get him back as quickly as possible. He’s a young guy. I hope he is a quick healer because we are going to need him.”
You have Dick Jauron this year as the defensive coordinator. Talk about the differences between Rob Ryan and him?
“Well personality wise I don’t think you could get more polar opposites. Dick [Jauron] is just outstanding. I’ve known about him for a long time. I had a lot of friends who played for him in Buffalo and Chicago. I’ve heard nothing, but good things about him and his reputation speaks for itself. He’s an even tempered guy and mild mannered. He’s an outstanding teacher and he put a system into place that guys believe in and the players feel like they can play fast in. That’s important. Obviously he’s the opposite of a guy like Rob [Ryan], but both guys are great coordinators and they are both great people. Both know how to motivate their guys and get them going. They are two completely different philosophies and it shows that both schemes can work and be successful.
Do you think Colt McCoy is on the progression to possibly becoming like a Drew Brees or be as good as him?
“I don’t want to take any credit for this, but I think I was the first one locally to say that. I think last season when Colt McCoy first got the nod as the starter and it wasn’t so much the play at that point it was just watching the way he commanded the huddle and the way he commanded the respect of the guys in the lockerroom and the way he was such a natural leader. That was the thing that struck me the most being similar to Drew Brees. Drew is one of my best friends down there and played against his former team when he was with San Diego and I was with Kansas City. I got to know him really, really well over the years and Colt McCoy just reminded me of a young version of Drew Brees. Obviously he is going to keep growing as a player and keep getting better and better, but in terms of those intangible leadership qualities? Colt has got that.”