The 2018 NFL season is coming up on the final quarter stretch and in most cases, nothing is settled. Divisions are close, playoff races are tight, and injuries around the league have really begun to shake things up.
It’s now make-or-break time for players and teams, and as the saying goes, big players make big plays in big games. So who might those big players be? Here’s a look at 10 players who could have a big impact down the stretch.
10. Colt McCoy, QB, Washington Redskins
33 years to the day that Lawrence Taylor broke Joe Theismann’s leg, players watched helplessly as Alex Smith suffered a gruesomely similar injury. His season is now over, and the reigns of the NFC East-leading Redskins have been handed over to Colt McCoy. He played relatively well in a Week 11 loss to the Houston Texans and will now lead the show moving forward, which is a role he hasn’t played in many years. The luxury McCoy brings to the table beyond his starting experience is his intimate familiarity with Washington’s offense and the skill position players surrounding him. And just as Nick Foles did a season ago, perhaps McCoy can channel some backup magic and lead the Redskins to the playoffs.
Colt McCoy will likely remain in the Washington Redskins’ quarterback room for another two seasons.
McCoy got a 1-year extension from Washington worth $7 million, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Much like McCoy’s 2018 contract, the extension includes a void and buyback provision.
McCoy has been with Washington since 2014, but he has only thrown 11 passes since 2015. A third-round pick by the Browns in 2010, McCoy has 26 career touchdown passes against 23 interceptions.
Jon Gruden believes the Washington Redskins are playing Colt McCoy at quarterback over Robert Griffin III for a simple reason: the former Longhorn is the best quarterback on the team right now.
Gruden, who is an analyst for ESPN and the brother of Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, gave an interview to ESPN Radio Wednesday where he talked about the Skins.
Gruden gave his opinion of why RG3 isn’t matching the success he had as a rookie.
“They’re not running the plays that they ran his rookie year,” Jon Gruden said. “I think the dive-option, the read-option, the read-option passes, I think the NFL has caught up with that. And if you don’t become an all-around quarterback, you’re going to struggle to sustain yourself. You’ve got to understand pass protections. You’ve got to be able to flourish in the pocket. And with the injuries, perhaps his mobility [decreased] and perhaps all the hits he’s taken have taken a toll on him. But he’s got to continue to develop as a drop-back passer. E.J. Manuel in Buffalo, who was a first-round pick, is going through the same thing. And it’s going to be a process.”
Though Gruden was particularly critical of McCoy while providing commentary for Washington’s Monday night win over Dallas, the analyst praised McCoy.
“But Colt McCoy deserves a little credit for being 2-0 in the games that he played in,” Jon Gruden went on. “He completed 36 out of 42 [passes]. We saw him on ‘Monday Night Football.’ I’m anxious to see how this kid can play, because he deserves the football.”
Gruden believes staunchly that despite what Washington gave up to get Griffin, McCoyy is more deserving of the chance to play.
“[Griffin] was benched last year right around this time of year, and he’s benched again. He’s got to play better to deserve the right to play. And it doesn’t matter what system; [that] doesn’t matter at all. You’ve got to find a quarterback, period, and that’s what the Redskins are trying to do. And Colt McCoy right now’s the best one they have.”
Helmet smack to DC Sports Bog
Colt McCoy will start at quarterback Sunday for the Washington Redskins against the Indianapolis Colts, according to a report.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the news and says the Redskins still have long-term plans for Robert Griffin III despite benching him in favor of McCoy.
McCoy has been the most successful Redskins quarterback this season. He entered Washington’s game against the Titans after halftime in Week 7 and led his team to victory. He continued his run by leading Washington to a win over the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night the following week.
Griffin has gone 0-3 since returning to action against the Vikings in Week 9. He has only led the Skins to 20 points the past two weeks, both of which were losses.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has indicated his lack of faith in Griffin the past few weeks, starting with when he said RG3 needed to worry about himself following a loss to the Bucs. It was clear that Gruden was not an RG3 fan, so this decision should not surprise anyone.
Jon Gruden was more critical of Colt McCoy during the Monday night football game between the Cowboys and Redskins than he is of nearly all quarterbacks, prompting many to wonder whether the announcer was trying to protect his brother Jay, who is Washington’s head coach.
Many have questioned how credible Jon could be as an analyst broadcasting his brother’s games. I always dismissed that notion because I believed Gruden was professional, but it really felt like he was picking out every single thing McCoy did wrong in order to give an excuse for his brother in case the Redskins lost.
Gruden’s criticism of McCoy was not noticeable in the first half of the game, but that changed in the second half. After Lisa Salters reported prior to the start of the third quarter that Jay Gruden expressed disappointment with the way McCoy played in the first half, Jon acted like that meant open season for picking on McCoy.
Gruden just hammered McCoy throughout the Redskins’ first drive of the second half.
On Washington’s first play of the second half, McCoy tripped while trying to make a handoff.
“Everything just looks so hard. The ball-handling, the timing. … handing the ball off, executing simple play-action passes have been difficult for McCoy,” said Gruden, providing more grating criticism than usual.
Gruden did praise McCoy for switching to a run play on second down, but he was critical after a couple of McCoy completions.
After Colt completed a pass to DeSean Jackson on a slant, Gruden pointed out what was wrong with the throw.
“If you give him a better throw, he might score,” Gruden said.
Then after a completion by McCoy on 2nd-and-7 made it 1st-and-goal, Gruden had another complaint.
The most viral moment from the Washington Redskins’ shocking victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night came shortly after the game ended, when Redskins PR boss Tony Wyllie aggressively pulled Colt McCoy away from an interview with ESPN Deportes reporter John Sutcliffe. Wyllie has a logical(?) explanation.
On Tuesday morning, Wyllie told TMZ Sports that he pulled McCoy away from the interview so he could get the quarterback to the locker room in time to hear Redskins coach Jay Gruden’s speech.
“We wanted to get Colt in to hear coach’s postgame speech,” he said. “I wasn’t denying access. I wanted Colt to hear coach talk. I felt we needed to get him inside.”
[WATCH: Redskins PR guy yells at ESPN Deportes reporter]
Wyllie said as soon as Gruden’s speech was finished McCoy came back out and conducted the interview.
“Right after the speech, Colt went out and did the interview,” he added. “I explained the situation to them. They were happy in the end. … Normally we set these [post-game interviews] up before [the game]. They’ll say, ‘This is who we want to talk to.’ They didn’t do that.”
The last part makes sense. I’m sure Sutcliffe didn’t anticipate that McCoy would be a player who was worth speaking to when most expected the Cowboys to dominate the Redskins. But the first part? Not so much.
Was Gruden really going to address the team without his starting quarterback, who just led the team to its biggest win of the year and set a record for completion percentage? I find that hard to believe. Didn’t you all see the high-five exchange between Gruden and McCoy after the game? Gruden wasn’t starting anything without McCoy present.
In the wake of Colt McCoy leading the Washington Redskins to an improbable overtime victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night, we feel there has never been a more appropriate time to bring back his fantastic old drug store commercial.
As our friends at the Wizard of Odds noted back in the day, McCoy’s uncle owns James McCoy’s Drug Store in Texas. When Colt was playing at Jim Ned High School in Tuscola, Texas in 2003, he became the pitchman for his uncle’s store.
As we all know, McCoy went on to be a star with the Texas Longhorns. No, there’s no recruiting violation associated with filming a commercial for a family member’s business.
[Related: Colt McCoy, Jay Gruden exchange awkward hug]
McCoy’s moment of glory in the NFL will likely be short-lived, but his James McCoy’s Drug Store commercial should live on forever.
Jay Gruden and Colt McCoy gave us a classic moment after their 20-17 overtime win over the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.
Gruden was being interviewed by ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the game and Salters mentioned that Jay’s brother, Jon, had a question for him from the broadcast booth. Jon asked when Jay was going to give McCoy a hug for pulling out the win, and Jay joked he would as soon as he was done with his interviews.
He then went in for a hug with McCoy, who thought either a high-five or handshake was coming. He threw his paw out there, got nothing in return, and then they embraced with the hug.
Anyone else notice how Gruden T-Rex-armed that hug?
That was like the “eh, sorta” bro-love hug.
When Washington Redskins PR boss Tony Wyllie says no, he means no.
Wyllie totally shut down ESPN Deportes reporter John Sutcliffe, who was trying to interview Colt McCoy after the Redskins beat the Cowboys 20-17 in overtime on Monday Night Football.
Wyllie forcibly yanked McCoy from the interview and then gave Sutcliffe a stiff-arm to separate him. McCoy was willing to do the interview, but for some reason Wyllie wouldn’t let it happen.
No means no.
According to a report, Colt McCoy had an absolutely tremendous reaction to being inserted into his first game as the Washington Redskins’ starting quarterback.
McCoy had been the team’s third-string quarterback behind Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, and he was the backup while RG3 was injured. That was until halftime of Week 7 against the Tennessee Titans when he was inserted into the game to start the second half.
McCoy went 11/12 for 128 yards and a touchdown while leading Washington to a 19-17 comeback win over Tennessee. He played well enough to convince Jay Gruden to make him the starter for Week 8.
According to CBS play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan, who joined the “Grant and Danny” radio program on 106.7 The Fan in DC Friday, McCoy had an extremely confident reaction to being told he was going in.
“And I’m not gonna tell you who told me this, but I guess when [McCoy] went in there, and they say ‘You’re gonna start the second half, he goes, ‘It’s about f’ing time that I’m starting,’ ” Harlan said.
“If that is indeed a true story, but the point is, I think the guy has gone in there and said, ‘I need a chance here, I’m ready to go.’ And so maybe the colorful language may not have been there, but I think he said, ‘It’s about time, let’s get this thing going.’ ”
Harlan’s point is perfect: even if McCoy didn’t necessarily use the profanity, that quote is probably reflective of the QB’s attitude. And that matters. Cousins started off hot for Washington before faltering quickly. Maybe the same will be true of McCoy, but the important thing is that he feels confident and ready. That is a good sign for the team and its fans.