Colt McCoy will start his first game in almost four years on Thursday. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Colt McCoy stood behind a lectern at the Redskins practice facility Tuesday afternoon, a starting quarterback again in the NFL after spending most of his career in the shadows as somebody else’s backup. He stared into a line of television cameras, the number of which seemed to surprise him, and he nodded solemnly.

“It’s a blessing to be in this league after so many years and it’s even a bigger blessing to go out and play,” McCoy said. “Throughout my nine years, I certainly don’t take this for granted.”

Thrown into the starting lineup after starter Alex Smith broke his leg during Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans, McCoy said he hadn’t had much time to reflect on his new opportunity. The fact Washington plays at Dallas on Thursday has kept him from thinking about more than what the team is asking him to do. He even turned off his phone to eliminate distractions.

“I just got to be calm, get my playmakers the ball and we can put our best foot forward,” he said.

On Monday, he visited Smith, a player he came to know well as the two have been the team’s only quarterbacks during the season. McCoy had spent hours teaching Smith the team’s offense after the veteran was acquired from Kansas City in March.

“All things considered, he’s in pretty good spirits,” McCoy said. “He’s bummed out. Let me tell you, I can’t say enough about Alex and the type of person he is, the friend that he is.”

When asked what Smith had told him, McCoy said: “'Just go run with it, have fun.'"

“That’s what I’ll try to do,” McCoy said.

McCoy said he watched film of the one and a half quarters he played against Houston, and called himself “rusty."

“There was some good; there were some things I wish I had back,” he said. “For the most part, I just ran out of time.”

Read more on the Redskins:

Why CBS showed only one replay of Alex Smith’s injury

Exactly 33 years since his own injury, Joe Theismann ‘so upset’ for Alex Smith

As Colt McCoy takes over, he tells team, ‘You’re in good hands with me’