With An Uncertain Timeline For Alex Smith, Jay Gruden Remains Confident In Colt McCoy

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Right now, Colt McCoy is the only quarterback on the Redskins’ active roster, head coach Jay Gruden flatly stated in front of media inside a conference room at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis.

That’s the current reality for Washington, which has a busy two months ahead, starting this week at the NFL Combine, as it determines how it will address the most important position on the field. Add depth in free agency? Add a starter through the draft? There are plenty of routes to take.

With no timetable for Alex Smith, thanks to the leg injury he sustained last November, the Redskins know that two things can be true at the same time. They are confident in McCoy being this team’s starting quarterback and they are also looking to add competition, with a free agent veteran or up and coming rookie.

“Always looking for competition for sure,” Gruden said. “You know Colt had a great opportunity last year, and unfortunately he got hurt, but everybody knows the organization feels very good about Colt if he’s the starter, but competition is very good, especially at the quarterback position.”

While Gruden acknowledged he believes Smith’s injury won’t take as long as everyone expects, basing that off his character and will to overcome his current circumstances, he knows the position needs more bodies. Especially as the hype around Kyler Murray and the rest of the quarterback class heightens this week, Gruden didn’t rule out the possibility of taking one of them with the 15th-overall pick.

“I mean there is a possibility for sure,” Gruden said. “We could use it on a quarterback. It’s still very early. You know, we have to get to know all of the quarterbacks first. We aren’t just going to say, ‘We are going to take a quarterback,’ we actually have to like the quarterback we’re taking if we go that route. So there’s a lot of situations still to be played out if we get a quarterback in free agency that could affect our 15th pick for sure but, you know, a lot of great options out there. We need someone to throw the ball other than Colt.”

Gruden didn’t offer any new information on Smith other than the fact that the veteran is starting to put weight on his leg for the first time and approaching rehab “first-class.” Because of the ambiguity regarding his return, Gruden acknowledged the difficulty in planning ahead.

“This is new to everybody,” Gruden said. “We just got to wait and see. I know that having a veteran guy like that, when he’s ready, he’ll be ready. It will take a lot of time for him to throw and get all that stuff but he’ll get himself ready to go when he’s ready.”

As for McCoy, who should be ready for OTAs after injuring his own leg in December, Gruden is fully prepared for him to lead the team.

Despite McCoy’s overall losing individual record, Gruden trusts his eyes with a player that’s been with the Redskins organization for several years.

“I could be really ignorant. I’ve just seen him throw the ball every offseason for five years in training camp,” Gruden said. “I know that he’s been fired up to get an opportunity. When he finally got one it’s like letting an animal out of the cage, he ran right into the wall, got hurt. He’s just got to slow down and process, which he will, but I have total confidence, he’s got a great knowledge of the system, he’s comfortable with the guys that we have, he’s a great leader, great competitor, he can run, he can move and he can make all the throws. But he’s been hurt and hasn’t done it.”

Gruden added: "He wants every play to work. Sometimes, the plays aren’t there. You just have to throw away and fight another day. The play he actually got hurt on, the play was dead. And he tried to scramble and the field had slipped, his leg hit the other kid’s leg and he’s out. It’s not a fault. That’s part of the reason you love a guy like Colt on your team, his great competitiveness. But I just hope he tones it down a little bit and throws it away. He’s a stubborn guy, man.”

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