Redskins have 'confidence' in Colt McCoy if he's starter

With Alex Smith likely out for the entire 2019 season, the Washington Redskins have a vacancy at the quarterback position. Or do they?

While Washington has played coy about Smith's status all offseason, the 'Skins have not been shy in their praise and support for Colt McCoy. Like Smith, McCoy suffered a season-ending leg injury in 2018, but the longtime backup is expected to return fully healthy next season, potentially as D.C.'s starting QB.

In speaking with reporters at the combine Thursday, Redskins coach Jay Gruden expressed confidence in McCoy's ability to be Washington's starter if need be.

"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."

Would Washington go into 2019 with McCoy as its unquestioned starter? Probably not. Gruden even added Thursday that they'll be going into OTAs with McCoy and "whoever else we have."

But it's also unlikely that Washington will unload capital for a top-tier free-agent QB to compete with McCoy, like, say, Nick Foles. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that Foles' market has essentially shrunk to just the Jacksonville Jaguars because the Redskins are not interested in the Eagles quarterback at his rate (likely around $25M).

Instead, the 'Skins could either sign a mid-tier free agent, draft a future franchise QB at No. 15 or do both to provide McCoy some competition.

McCoy has not started more than four games in a season since 2011 when he was the future of the Cleveland Browns. The longtime backup has been with Washington since 2014 and started just six games and attempted 193 passes over that span.

To Gruden, that's no matter.

"I could be really ignorant," Gruden said. "I've just seen him throw the ball for five years in the offseason, in training camp. I know that he was fired up to get an opportunity and when he finally got one, it was like letting an animal out of the cage. He ran right into the wall, got hurt. He's got to slow down the process, which he will. But I have total confidence.

"He's got a great knowledge of the system, he's comfortable with the guys we have, he's a great leader, he's a competitor. He can run, he can move and he can make all the throws. But he's been hurt and he hasn't done it."

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