Back in the fold with the Redskins after re-signing with the team this offseason, quarterback Colt McCoy said his neck is fully healed and he's ready to compete.
While Colt McCoy started the 2014 season as the No. 3 quarterback on the Washington Redskins' depth chart, the Texas product -- through injury and individual performance -- ended up appearing in five games with four starts.
In his first appearance with the Redskins in a regular-season game, McCoy replaced a struggling Kirk Cousins in the second half and led the team to a come-from-behind 19-17 victory against the Tennessee Titans.
Then, the next week, on a Monday night stage against the then 6-1 Dallas Cowboys, McCoy dazzled by throwing for 299 yards and scoring a rushing touchdown in a 20-17 overtime victory.
But while the five-year veteran would continue to get his opportunities later in the season -- sharing time with Robert Griffin III -- he would be placed on season-ending Injured Reserve with a nagging neck injury that took him out of the Redskins' Week 15 game against the New York Giants.
After weeks of rest and specific exercises that helped heal his neck quickly, McCoy returned to the team facility this week for Phase 1 of offseason workouts feeling great.
"Hopefully, it'll do some things that'll help me not face that again," McCoy told Redskins.com of his rehab process. "It's unfortunate and frustrating, but I'm glad that I'm back. I had a great offseason. It started off right [offseason workouts] these first few days."
McCoy understands the sensitivity of neck injuries as well, but feels confident that he'll be able to replicate his successes for the upcoming season.
"It wasn't a serious injury, but it was serious enough where I missed a couple of games," he said. "But I don't have any lasting effects from it. I feel stronger, and we're just focusing on the mental part of the game, studying and just grinding away on that end."
Return To The Redskins
Despite his injury, McCoy was expected to be one of the top unrestricted free agent quarterbacks in his class this year.
With a lot of teams in search of not only a veteran presence, but a player that can compete for a starting gig, McCoy said he received interest from several different teams.
He ultimately, though, decided to stay put with the Redskins and feels "really confident" about his situation.
"I spent a lot of time with Jay [Gruden] and Sean [McVay] and Bruce [Allen]. Meeting with those guys on the phone, coming up here, I felt really confident that this is the place where I'm supposed to be," he said. "I had other things out there, but I wanted to be here and glad it worked out."
While Gruden called Griffin III the team's "No. 1 guy" going into the offseason, the second-year head coach is confident both McCoy and Cousins will make for a competitive battle.
"They got a taste of starting in the National Football League last year, and that's something that they're not just going to let go," he said at the NFL Annual Meetings last month in Phoenix. "They want to get back in the saddle, and that's the type of guys we want in here. We want guys who are going to come in here and not lay down, but compete."
With the team eventually progressing from strictly strength and conditioning drills to on-field work, Gruden said the team will "divvy up" reps for McCoy and Cousins.
A look at the highlights of quarterback Colt McCoy's first season with the Washington Redskins, which included wins over the Titans and Cowboys.
"There will be plenty of work to go around," Gruden said. "There will be plenty of balls for these guys to throw, and we'll get plenty of reps for them all. The tough thing when you have three quarterbacks, and you're having a three-way competition is trying to get enough reps to make it a fair competition. But really, we're going to start out with Robert getting the first-team reps and splitting up the reps from there."
Growth Under CavanaughOne change for McCoy and the Redskins signal callers this offseason is the addition of veteran quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh.
After electing to split quarterback duties between McVay and himself last season, Gruden said one of his top priorities this offseason was to bring in a coach for that position as another voice that helps further spread the workload.
McCoy said the hope is that Cavanaugh, a former NFL quarterback with an extensive amount of professional coaching experience on his résumé, can use his experiences on and off the field to make the Redskins quarterbacks more efficient in their everyday preparation.
"Obviously you have respect for him before you even meet him because he played in the NFL for 14 years and has been around the league for a long, long time," McCoy said. "He knows quarterback play. I'm really looking forward to gaining wisdom and knowledge about the position from him, and I'm glad he's on board with us."