Here's five takeaways from Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy's media session with reporters on Wedensday, November 28, 2018, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.
1. He’ll have the opportunity to build trust with his receivers this week
What was forgotten in the midst of watching Colt McCoy last Thursday against the Cowboys was the simple fact that he hadn’t gotten to participate in a full practice prior to starting his first game in four years.
The short week allowed the team a couple of walkthroughs, not enough time to develop much chemistry between McCoy and the receivers he would be throwing the ball to. Nearly all of those reps, dating back to OTAs, belonged to Alex Smith as he learned the offense throughout the offseason. This week won’t be much, but it will help McCoy to get on the same page as his targets.
“I just really need to focus on our game plan and what the Eagles are going to do against us,” McCoy said. “When those opportunities present themselves, for me, being able to make that split second quick decision of, '…is this a chance I want to take here, or is it not? Do I trust this guy or do I not?' I think throughout this week – I mean it's really short – but hopefully there will be enough times where I can get myself in that position and be able to make a good decision."
McCoy knows he has a talented group of receivers at his disposal, but it takes time to develop an unspoken rapport with them. He wants to take shots down the field when appropriate, knowing the offense needs to find explosive opportunities.
“I think these guys have the ability to make plays,” McCoy said. “In our offense and what we do, we need some explosive plays and giving these guys an opportunity down the field – here and there – to come down with the ball on a 50-50 throw. I think we certainly can continue to improve on that, work on that, so yeah we've talked about it."
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2. McCoy was pleased with how he felt on Thursday
Despite the three turnovers, McCoy expressed satisfaction in the way he handled all of his responsibilities on Thursday. He finished the game passing 24-of-38 for 268 yards and two touchdowns, and was happy with the way he managed everything.
“From an operational standpoint, I was actually kind of pleased; just with how it went, not being out there for four years,” McCoy said. “There are also some things where I see things pretty quickly and then just being able for me to stay in rhythm, even though I kind of know what's going on already, as opposed to, 'Oh I see it, I want to make it happen right now and just do it.' I think just relaxing, communicating my calls and making the checks, the things I need to do at the line of scrimmage and just executing. Not having to do too much.”
3. He’s excited about growing his connection with Trey Quinn
The two connected for a touchdown in the third quarter of the team’s loss to the Cowboys, and McCoy had nothing but positive things to say about the slot receiver still working his way back from an ankle injury that kept him out for an extended period of the season.
"Trey is doing great,” McCoy said. “He's still battling his ankle injury a little bit but he's tough. He's a competitor. He's just real savvy. He plays in the slot so he understands defense and leverages. He's a pretty friendly target, so the more work I can get with him the better."
Quinn mentioned working with McCoy in Austin, Texas, over the offseason and the two got a good rhythm together during training camp with a lot of second-team reps. McCoy continued to offer praise for the rookie.
“I would throw with him and work with him and kind of teach him how I see the coverage,” McCoy said. “Trey does a nice job of not just running the route that's drawn on paper. He does a great job of winning his route and understanding soft spots in zone defenses or how to use his leverage in man coverage. You can just tell that Trey has played a lot inside and he has a pretty good feel for what's going on, a lot like Jamison [Crowder]. My best advice to him early on was, 'Dude you've got one of the best slot guys in the game, why don’t you watch him, watch Crowder.' So, he does a pretty good job. Trey always wants to learn. He's eager to get better and I'm thankful that he was able to come back off his injury from earlier in the season."
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4. McCoy wants to stick to the script until breakdowns happen
It might be tempting to take the game into his own hands, but McCoy is adamant about not forcing anything to happen unless he absolutely needs to. That means trusting his playcalls, reads, progressions and his receivers to be where they should.
“I don’t want to just take the snap and go try to make something happen – which I don’t think I did that too many times the other night – I've been here long enough to understand what we want to do and what we're trying to do,” he said. “I think this week will really help me, really help the receivers get a feel for me, but at the end of the day it's not about me. It's about us. It's our team and it's us as a group going out and executing a game plan against the defending Super Bowl champs.”
McCoy stressed that coaches have challenged him specifically this week to be better with communication and reading coverages. The Redskins have been good at forcing turnovers and limiting giveaways to the opponent, but last game trended in the other direction. That will have to change, though the Eagles defense will show McCoy a variety of looks in attempts to confuse him.
“I've been on the sidelines but we've played Philly a lot and you watch their tape over the last three or four weeks, they can play pretty much anything,” McCoy said. “They can play man. They can play zone. They can heat you up at times; you've always got to be prepared for that. As a quarterback, this is not an easy week to prepare for a defense that can do it all. They've got really good players up front, so for me, really just being detailed and practices will be important for me and then just going out an executing on Monday night."
5. He’s ready to distribute to his playmakers.
McCoy began his press conference discussing the merits of wide receiver Josh Doctson and the former first-round pick’s progression this season. He’d like for them to gain more trust in the coming weeks and suggested he’d keep targeting him more for the remainder of the season.
“We'll definitely try to keep getting him the rock maybe a little bit more and hopefully he can make some more plays," he said.
McCoy also explained that he needs to know where tight end Jordan Reed is on the field at all times, especially when the Eagles play him in man-coverage. “He helps us out a lot. He's smart. He's sharp in his route running ability and he's a good player. Always knowing that he's out on the field, I think that really helps our offense,” McCoy said.
Finally, should the Redskins have running back Chris Thompson back in the fold this Monday, McCoy is excited to have him as a target and, maybe more importantly, as a pass blocker.
“I think we all know the amount of plays that C.T. has made last year and throughout his career,” McCoy said. “He's great in protection, first of all. I just think it would be a boost for everybody. I think if we could get him the ball and get him in space, he can create and do things that a lot of people can't. He would be a big difference maker for us."