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Need to Know: Preseason games loom large for Redskins backup QBs

Aug 7, 2015, 5:24 AM EDT

Cousins McCoy RVA

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, August 7, six days before Washington Redskins open their preseason against the Browns in Cleveland.

If you need to catch up on what’s happening in Richmond, scroll to the bottom for a list of our posts from the last 24 hours. 

Preseason games loom large for backup QBs

RICHMOND—During practices here, observers keep a close eye on Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins. They are competing for the job of backing up starting quarterback Robert Griffin III. That is an important since history tells us that the backup could end up being the starter due to injury or ineffectiveness.

McCoy and Cousins have both had good plays and bad. Cousins does seem to be doing a better job of protecting the ball; interceptions have been few and far between after being at least a daily occurrence last year. McCoy struggles at times but when he gets into rhythm he can complete several in a row.

But after hearing what Jay Gruden had to say about how the backup jobs will be determined there may not be much of a point in making detailed notes about what goes on here at the Bon Secours training center.

“We’re going to let the preseason games really be the factor in how many we keep and who’s No. 2 and who’s No. 3,” said Gruden when asked about the quarterback depth chart.

As to how many quarterback they keep, it seems that Gruden is strongly leaning towards keep three, as the team did last year. He said that keeping three “is not etched in stone” but that it is “a good possibility”.

Gruden didn’t want to undersell the importance of having good practices but the real competition will start a week from today, Sept. 13 when the Redskins open their preseason in Cleveland.

“Right now they’re just going to continue to compete and take advantage of the reps they get,” he said. “But really once the games start – the Texans we’ll be a good test for them also – and then we have four good preseason games to make that determination.”

Of course, preseason games aren’t necessarily “good” to anyone except football coaches and players trying to make the team. But they will take on a higher level of interest this year as the possibility exists that the backup quarterback who plays the best in August will be under center with the starters at some point in October.


Today’s schedule: Joint practice with Texans, 8:35

—It’s been 222 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 37 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Preseason opener @ Browns 7; final cuts 29; Redskins @ Giants Thursday night 48

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  1. abanig - Aug 7, 2015 at 7:02 AM

    If Cousins can stop from throwing stupid ints and take what the defense gives him sometimes instead of always forcing things downfield.

    If Cousins is going to them an int every fourth quarter of the preseason, McCoy will be the back up.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:18 AM

      I think Cousins has many issues.
      He tips off his pass and stare down the WR
      His accuracy is lacking at times
      He doesn’t go through his progressions and only works 1 side of the feild
      He’s not good at reading the defense post snap
      When pressured he throws it up for grabs
      All these issues are factors in his interceptions thats why Im not confident that he will limit them. In fact I think if he does play in the regular season he will throw even more picks because he will get baited more and with the tape on him they will scheme to get those interception opportunities.

  2. goback2rfk - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:08 AM

    Flip a coin. We do not need 3 QB on the roster. If RG3 gets hurt again we can bring back in Pat White or someone to fill the spot. Based on last year I have to go with McCoy

    • abanig - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:15 AM

      There’s really no reason to get rid of Cousins at this point though and ever since the first few practices he’s been taking care of the ball and playing much better.

      All 3 qbs being some thing to the able. If Griffin did get hurt and McCoy has neck issues I’d want Kirk to be our qb, woukd you?

  3. sidepull - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:27 AM

    Maybe the QB situation isn’t all that important right now. Maybe they were focused on the lines in the draft and that porous defense. It wasn’t like they were going get a great qb this year in the draft. Maybe they are trying to build a team first then go get a QB they want instead of the inheritance of three questionable guys who cannot seem to nail down the position. No I don’t care who they keep anymore or even who they get rid of. I am happy to see them build the lines so when a real bonifide QB becomes available the lines and D are ready to roll. If we luck into a current QB on this team who all of the sudden is able to deliver, be a winner, then we will be ahead of the game. So far it has not gone as planned to say the least. You spend all those draft picks to move and get a QB that by all intents and purposes, should take you to superbowls. We were there, on the way, then he got injured. I saw and felt the excitement and possibilities 14 points up against the Seahawks. That was a long tie ago it seems.
    This staff has no ties to any of these QB and if they don’t produce. dont think there will be a problem moving on. Build a team and if a QB we have does not step up in the process then at least you have a team. No more giving up all those draft picks please.

    • abanig - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:36 AM

      Yeah, Shanahan did the team no favors, and was barely better than Cerrato.

      We gave up draft position to get Goldson…

  4. kenlinkins - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    IMO this new GM has no fear of risk. One of the Redskins six round picks (we traded down from spot 69 to about 93 to get some extra picks) is now a Colt. Keeping 3 QB’s may or may not be in the new GM’s plans. IMO this GM is still not sure just what he has yet. With about half of the 90 man roster being new to the Redskins this year, one has to think that there will be a few mild shocks come cut down time. The question becomes “which QB (Cousins or McCoy) has more worth to a GM in his first year of rebuilding a team with 7 wins over 2 years if both could be gone in 2016”? In the past it was pretty easy to read the GM, he was going to keep all the high price free agents he signed but this new GM has avoided that trap and made the preseason a “must watch” for Redskins fans. Gone are the days of writing in 52 or the 53 man roster by Aug 10th. IMO the new GM will give Redskins fans and media types a run for their money with their “guess” at the 53 man roster and how many players at each position. This preseason should be very interesting to watch as we fans get the next read on just how this new GM plans to turn the Redskins into winners again!

  5. renhoekk2 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:27 AM

    Even with the ints last season Cousins QB rating for the Jax, Phi, NYG, Sea, AZ games was a combined 90. Which is better than average. If you through out the NYG as an outlier bad game because it wasn’t typical of his other games his rating was a 98 which would be top 10 in the NFL. Everyone blames the OL for Griffin’s poor QB play. In roughly the same amt of pass attempts Griffin (214) was sacked 33 times. Cousins (204) sacked 8 times. McCoy only had 128 attempts and was sacked 16 times. Can anyone explain that? Cousins is the only QB willing to throw the ball downfield. He had 27 passes of 20yds+ compared to Griffin’s (18) and McCoy(12). Of course if you only throw the ball 5yds downfield you won’t throw a lot of ints. You won’t score a lot of pts either. It wasn’t by accident that the team’s best offensive games Jax (40+ pts), and Phi (34pts) came with Cousins at QB. In the games where each QB took the majority of the snaps the Redskins offense averaged 24pts/gm with Cousins playing, 16pts/gm with McCoy and 15pts/gm with Griffin. But some fans would like to believe that Cousins is the worst QB of the bunch. Cousins is not a Pro Bowler waiting to happen and wouldn’t start for half the teams in the league, but he’s not the worst QB on the Redskins roster either.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      Cousins wasn’t blitzed as much as RG3. Why??? Because why would you sack a QB that is gonna throw you the ball. Cousins also faced weaker Defensive Pass Rushers. You also forgot to mention Cousins had a lower completion percentage and was 100%. Healthy

    • abanig - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:53 AM

      Jacksonville & Phila’s defenses weren’t very good. Jacksonville didn’t have a game plan coming into the game to defend Cousins, they were preparing all week for a totally different qb – RG3.

      It is true that Cousins wasn’t that bad, but his mistakes and his “tells” of looking down wrs and making it easy for defenses to see where he’s going with the ball caused almost all of his ints.

      I do believe if Cousins had played 16 games that he would have put up 4500 yds & 27 TDs, but we also would have had a lot of ints, possibly 24 or 25 ala Rex Grossman.

      Can Cousins grow out of that? Possibly, but he’s been that way since college, so basically he’s been that way since 2010, that’s a long time for a qb not to change his ways. At some point Cousins is what he is and right now I have to say he’s more Rex Grossman or Jay Cutler rather than John Elway, Tony Romo, Steve Young or Brett Favre.

      Meaning, I’m not sold he grows out of and improves on his most major issues, mostly because of lack of confidence, not because he’s not smart and not talented.

    • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:49 AM

      Or you could look at Cousins last three quarters and see how he was trending. 4th Quarter Arizona and 1st half Tennessee. Remember he didn’t get replaced by a returning Robert Griffin but got replaced due to his inability to overcome the mental burden of his mistakes.

  6. warpath1 - Aug 10, 2015 at 2:11 PM

    And with the 18th pick in the draft, the Washington Redskins select cardel jones quarterback, Ohio state buckeyes

    • abanig - Aug 10, 2015 at 3:21 PM

      If we are picking 18th; 1) we won’t be drafting a qb because that means Griffin would have gotten us to 8 or 9 wins and presumably played at least average, if not above average

      2) If Cardale Jones starts at OSU this year he’s likely going to play well and end up being a top 10 pick

      • warpath1 - Aug 10, 2015 at 7:05 PM

        I did mean to assume rg would finish the year, but what a great guy to have a year or two to learn a system. Picture a better Ben rothlesburger

        • abanig - Aug 10, 2015 at 7:17 PM

          Well your statements still don’t add up. Jones will be a top 10 pick if he comes out and we won’t be taking a qb if the Redskins are anywhere near a playoff team.

  7. warpath1 - Aug 10, 2015 at 8:38 PM

    And with the 8th pick in the 2016 draft the Washington Redskins select cardel jones, quarterback, Ohio state. The next franchise qb for the redskins Archives

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