The Washington Redskins Blunder Badly In Letting Colt McCoy Walk

All reports are that the Washington Redskins have decided against bringing back Colt McCoy next season. I think this is a significant mistake, and as a Redskins fan I don’t know if I’m more depressed, furious or just plain crushed by this news.

Before going further, I want to remove one potential misconception. My strong desire to have McCoy back in burgundy-and-gold is *not* rooted in any animosity towards Robert Griffin III. RG3 is a lightning rod flash point in a lot of these discussions and I prefer to stay away from that.

Joe Gibbs Washington RedskinsI like Robert, he’s a high-character player and a hard worker  who got royally screwed by his first head coach and now plays for a blowhard incompetent boss. What he can do when he’s healthy is a matter of record. But what’s also a matter of record is that his capacity to stay healthy has to be subject to serious skepticism.

Wishful thinking is not a plan. A plan would be having a quarterback with a similar skillset to RG3, who has his own demonstrated ability to run an offense and is reasonably interchangeable with Griffin. Colt McCoy fits the bill perfectly.

McCoy’s physical tools are obviously not on par with RG3’s, but McCoy is capable of playing on the move—rolling pockets, mixing in some read-option, etc. If RG3 is hurt or doesn’t play well, you can insert McCoy in without changing the offense. Kirk Cousins doesn’t give you that same luxury.

Furthermore, it was obvious all last season that RG3 has deeper problems than just staying healthy. He wasn’t confident anymore, the swagger of 2012 and even 2013 (when he took far too much blame) was gone. He looked like someone who no longer trusted his body, no longer played on instinct and was just overthinking everything in spades. It’s perfectly understandable, given what the kid’s lower body has been through. But it’s also a serious problem.

Cousins has his own mental hangups as well, and it’s that he shrinks into a shell every time he makes mistake. In terms of skill-set, Cousins could be a poor man’s Andrew Luck—throw a nice ball down the field, make mistakes, but overcome them with big plays over the top. But skillset’s not enough—Cousins lacked Luck’s mental toughness at putting mistakes behind him.

Thus, Colt McCoy might not have had the same physical tools as either of the other two quarterbacks, but he was the one guy whose head was screwed on right and who played football like he knew who he was and what he was trying to do.

But apparently, all that is out the window, because he doesn’t have enough of a skillset to impress the Redskin coaches or front office. You know, last I checked, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady weren’t proto-type athletes. And the last I checked, they worked out okay as starters. Is it so unreasonable to think that Colt McCoy could have sufficed as the foil for RG3 and potential starter if the latter can’t himself worked out of his funk? I don’t think so.

So instead we have two quarterbacks with opposite skillsets, and for whom the only common thread is they each need a sports therapist more than an offensive coordinator. And the quarterback who played the best in 2014 is gone. Yes, it’s really difficult to understand why the Washington Redskins can’t win. I think I’m just going into a corner somewhere and weep.