It appears we finally have an answer to the question of the week in the NFL.
Which Washington Redskins quarterback would take the reigns against the Patriots on Sunday as the starter? After days of anticipation and speculation, Redskins coach Jay Gruden revealed it would be veteran Colt McCoy getting the nod in his first game of the season.
Washington has been rolling with starter Case Keenum so far this season. But after being lifted for Dwayne Haskins last Sunday and missing practice this week while appearing in a walking boot, Keenum was out of the running for starting quarterback this week, creating the mystique.
McCoy was not healthy during the Redskins preseason and ultimately lost out on the quarterback competition out of training camp. But now that he is cleared to play, McCoy appears ready to step in as the starter after doing so only twice last season and only six times in his last six healthy seasons.
McCoy, who was drafted in the third round out of Texas in 2010, set countless passing records in college during his four-year career with the Longhorns. He finished college with over 13,000 passing yards and 112 touchdown passes. This will be the first time McCoy starts a game in consecutive seasons since 2010-11 when he was named the starter in Cleveland.
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McCoy Has History Against the Patriots
Colt McCoy has faced the Patriots once in his NFL career, and it was perhaps the most shocking defeat dealt to New England in the Tom Brady era.
In 2010, McCoy led a hapless Browns team under Eric Mangini to a blowout victory over the Patriots, 34-14, thanks to the power running of full back Peyton Hillis. The fullback rushed 29 times for 184 yards and two touchdowns and was unstoppable against an injury-riddled Patriots defense.
As for McCoy, he went 14 for 19 passing with only 179 yards but added three rushes for 20 yards including a 16-yard scoring run. His 101.6 passer rating was higher than Brady’s 90.5 rating for the game.
The loss, to date, is one of the worst suffered in the Brady-Belichick era of Patriots history. The Patriots were only four-point favorites in Tom Brady’s unanimous MVP season and managed to lose by 20 points against a Browns team that finished that season 5-11.
How Patriots Can Contain McCoy
McCoy has gone just 7-20 as a starter in his 10-year career and has thrown nearly as many touchdowns as interceptions.
For a Patriots pass rush that loves to hurry the quarterback into hasty throws and a secondary with 10 interceptions already this season, this could spell trouble for McCoy. He hasn’t really shown a running ability but was better last year in his mobility than ever before. But coming off a broken leg, how confident will McCoy be to leg it out against a defense that closes off gaps quickly?
The Patriots should force McCoy to test the freshly healed leg, something he may be a little reluctant to attempt.