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Colt McCoy ready for another shot at a starting gig

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Colt McCoy's first regular-season pass since 2015 went for a touchdown strike.

The Washington Redskins' backup quarterback entered the game Sunday versus the Houston Texans after Alex Smith suffered a brutal season-ending leg injury. Following an interception by his defense, McCoy ran a keeper on his first snap, then threw a perfect ball to tight end Jordan Reed in the back left of the end zone on his first pass for a score.

McCoy led the Redskins back from 17-7 to take the lead before ultimately coming up short, 23-21, on Sunday.

Now the backup quarterback starts at Dallas against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and will be the NFC East-leading Redskins' point-man moving forward.

"You pray for opportunities to get to play. You never like to see how it happened [Sunday]," McCoy said Monday, via ESPN.com. "I've been a starter before, had it taken away, and it's not a good feeling. I kind of battled my way back. Been here for a while now, so hopefully I can go out there and play good ball and help our team win. Alex has got us in great shape."

McCoy hasn't started a game since Week 15, 2014 with the Redskins. He's spent the past five years as a caddy in Washington, participating in just nine games in that span.

The former third-round pick made 21 starts with the Cleveland Browns in his first two seasons but has made just four since 2011.

"I've grown up. I've grown up a lot," McCoy said. "I feel comfortable in this system and how we execute our offense."

McCoy showed athleticism and good pop on his passes after relieving Smith on Sunday. Perhaps it was just a vamped part of the plan after subbing in, but McCoy kept the ball (on both designed runs and scrambles) quite a bit -- five carries, 35 yards. According to Next Gen Stats, McCoy reached 20.31 MPH on his 15-yard rush, the third-fastest speed reached by a QB this season.

With Mark Sanchez now the backup, however, Washington won't want McCoy to take a brutal beating each week.

The Redskins have cooed about their confidence in McCoy for years, yet he always remained the backup. Now it's the former University of Texas star's turn to show he can have a career rebirth.

"He gets the ball out of his hands immediately," Reed said. "He knows where he's going pre-snap based on reading the coverage. He's got all that arm talent in the world, and now it's his turn.

"He has a cannon. In practice, some of the throws he makes are unbelievable. And he has the touch. He can make all the throws. In practice this year he's been making unbelievable throws every day."

Making those throws in practice is one thing. The Redskins need McCoy to make them in pivotal games in a playoff race, beginning with Thursday's nationally televised Thanksgiving game in Dallas.

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