Colt McCoy, the backup’s backup, ‘in a great place’ with Redskins

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As the backup to Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco last season, McCoy appeared in four games, but attempted just one pass, which he completed for 13 yards.

McCoy signed with the Redskins on April 3.

“[Coach] Jay [Gruden] brought me in, and I had played against him a couple years when I was in Cleveland and he was in Cincinnati, so I watched [his] offense,” McCoy said. “When I visited here I just connected with him and liked what they were doing.

“I didn’t think about all [the competition]. I just wanted to go to a place where they wanted me and I felt like I would fit in. It just felt right. I ended up not visiting anywhere else and just signed here.”

Given that McCoy’s arrival in D.C. marked his third team in 12 months, it’s understandable that comfort level would be a priority. But comfort and opportunity are often in opposition.

Robert Griffin III is the unquestioned starter, and Kirk Cousins is arguably the most secure backup in the league. Unless there’s an injury, McCoy is stuck at No. 3 on the depth chart, and in today’s NFL, a third quarterback is a luxury that most teams have no interest in once the regular season rolls around.

The combination of McCoy’s career path and demeanor puts him in the unique and conflicting position of knowing what he’s up against while maintaining a positive focus.

“I’ve been in a lot of systems, unfortunately, going into my fifth year,” McCoy said. “This is my fifth system. I really like what Jay brings to the table and like what he’s doing. OTAs are going well and I’m just glad to be here.”

As long as McCoy remains with the Redskins, he is an asset as a veteran presence.

“I love Colt; he’s a great guy,” tight end Logan Paulsen said. “He’s been around a litte bit, so he knows a lot of football and knows what’s going on.”

McCoy has gotten more practice at being a veteran than most fifth-year quarterbacks. In the past three seasons, he’s backed up a rookie, a third-year player entering his first full season as a starter and now, a third-year starter and third-year backup.

He accepts his current role, if a little begrudgingly.

“I’m always competing, no question,” McCoy said, “and that’s what they want me to do. At the same time, being in the position I was last year with Colin, I felt like I helped him as much as I could. I certainly will do the same thing here with Robert. It’s weird to say I’d be the vet in the room at 27, but that is the case right now.”

It’s hard to gauge a player’s mental make-up during June practice in shorts (or sweatpants in McCoy’s case), but while McCoy often hangs back and plays catch to keep warm while Griffin and Cousins run plays with the first- and second-teams, the competitive desire is evident when he gets his chance.

During goal-line drills last Thursday, McCoy lofted a perfect fade to his left that fell into the hands of Aldrick Robinson for a touchdown in the back corner of the end zone. The play elicited a fist pump from the quarterback, a “bull’s-eye!” from the offensive side of the ball and an expletive from the defense.

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