JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. — The Washington Redskins held their annual walk-through and signed autographs for military families at Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday, but a notable name stayed back at the team’s facility in Ashburn for treatment: quarterback Colt McCoy.
Coach Jay Gruden said McCoy won’t play Thursday when the Redskins take on the Cincinnati Bengals — making it the second straight preseason game the quarterback will miss as he recovers from a leg injury.
The obvious downside of McCoy’s injury means the quarterback is missing crucial opportunities to make his case for the starting job. Gruden recently told Sports Illustrated that he hopes to make a decision about Washington’s starter after the third preseason game. Is McCoy still a viable candidate if he has missed two of them?
“First and foremost we have to get that leg healthy to where he’s confident he can step into some throws and really push off that leg, and right now, you can see it’s been a little bit of an issue for him,” Gruden said. “I don’t think he’s very far away, but I think it’s best at this time to hold him out and get some treatment.”
Case Keenum, meanwhile, will get another start with McCoy out. Gradually, Keenum has looked increasingly comfortable in the Redskins’ offense — cutting down on his mistakes and finding a rhythm with his receivers. Gruden said he has not yet determined how he wants to divide the reps for Thursday’s game.
McCoy’s experience in knowing Gruden’s offense gave the veteran an early advantage over Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins. Entering his sixth season with Gruden, McCoy had a strong beginning to camp. He commanded the huddle, moved the ball and limited his mistakes. Running back Adrian Peterson even gave him a light endorsement for the job when speaking to reporters Tuesday.
“I feel like Colt obviously has the edge because he has the knowledge and ability as well,” Peterson said. “He’s been shown to have a really strong arm and been consistent as well.”
But McCoy has looked off lately. He sat out of team drills Tuesday because he was still sore from Sunday’s practice. When he has taken the field, his accuracy hasn’t been as consistent over the last week. He’s thrown multiple interceptions and missed wide receivers entirely.
It begs the question if McCoy can be healthy enough to be reliable to start the season. The 32-year-old is coming off three leg surgeries, two of which were to address “issues” that popped up after the fact. And even beyond the leg issue, McCoy has a well-documented injury history — from concussions to a neck injury.
When he last met with local reporters in late July, McCoy acknowledged that it usually wasn’t his play that had taken him off the field.
“I don’t think he’s had full strength yet,” Gruden said. “He’s tried to battle through it in training camp. It just hasn’t been there for him. Let’s get him back to 100% and we’ll go from there.”
“I just listen to the doctors and the trainers and they tell me the prognosis and we go from there,” he said. “We have to listen to Colt and see how he’s doing. That’s the most important thing.”
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