Both GM Scot McCloughan and head coach Jay Gruden are glad to have Colt McCoy back competing and pushing Kirk Cousins in the quarterbacks room.
Football is more than a game to quarterback Colt McCoy, it's what he was born to do, or so he wrote in a lengthy Player’s Tribune article last week after signing a three-year contract with the Redskins.
In deciding to bring him back for a third season, general manager Scot McCloughan cited that particular aspect — describing him as a "football player," a phrase he uses a lot — as a defining reason in keeping McCoy as the team's backup to Kirk Cousins.
"Just the total package," McCloughan said at the annual owners meetings. "He's a Redskin through and through. He had opportunities to go elsewhere and he didn't accept them. He wanted to come back and I respect that a lot."
The desire to keep McCoy was strong, both from McCloughan and head coach Jay Gruden, who was concerned that McCoy might slip away to another team.
"Not everybody sees what I see in Colt. I'm one of Colt's biggest fans, actually," Gruden said. "I'm happy as heck we got him back."
The decision-making was more than just emotional. From a logistical perspective, McCoy's return allows the quarterback room to remain mostly intact and with a capable player behind Cousins. That can only lead to more competition, something that will push Cousins throughout the offseason and into training camp.
"The calling factor is the fact that he can play football and he's a solid, solid No. 2 right now that pushes Kirk," McCloughan said. "Kirk's our starter, we know that, you can see with the tag, but Colt's not going to back down. He wants to opportunity to force Kirk to be better, to prove what he is and I respect that a lot, at any position, but especially quarterback."
The reasoning from McCoy remains the same. Comfort is a large factor in any free agent's decision, and after five years in the league – and success in his time on the field with the Redskins – McCoy is didn't want to have to learn a completely new system and enter a new environment.
A look at the highlights of quarterback Colt McCoy's first season with the Washington Redskins, which included wins over the Titans and Cowboys.
"My choice to sign with the Redskins was the right move then and it's the right move now," McCoy wrote. "I'm entering my third season in the same system and that's something I'll never take for granted in this league again. My first five years in the league, I had to learn five different offenses. Each offense is basically its own foreign language — it really takes time to master. But the opportunity to really familiarize myself with Jay's system has given me a comfort level I haven't experienced since I was in college."
"I can sleep good at night knowing I got those two guys, that's for sure," Gruden said.
McCoy has spent the last two seasons with the Redskins on one-year deals, completing 98 passes for 1,185 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions in seven appearances. He only had passing attempts in the 2015 regular season finale against the Cowboys, but threw for 128 yards and a touchdown.
In his essay, McCoy, who Gruden believes could be a starter in the league, wrote about the comfort in knowing with certainty that he could step in and make a difference when needed. That confidence stems from his head coach.
"He knows we like what he's been doing. There's no question about it," Gruden said. "When he's been asked to perform, I think he was 2-2 as a starter, and played pretty well my first year here. He competes his butt off when he's out there. Have him around for [three] more years is a great benefit for us and I think for Kirk, also."