Colt McCoy knows the Redskins need to make more plays on the offensive side of the ball. The Redskins rank 25th in the league with 214 passing yards per game, and their average of 20 points per game ranks 27th.
Washington’s new starting quarterback has not been shy about wanting to give his pass catchers opportunities to win their matchups, but ahead of a critical road game against the Philadelphia Eagles on “Monday Night Football,” he also knows he needs to be better than his three-interception outing in a Thanksgiving loss to the Cowboys.
“For me, turnovers are just going to lose you games,” McCoy said Wednesday. “Being smart with the football, No. 1, is of the utmost importance. Going from there, it’s understanding what we’re trying to accomplish. What were we designing on this play? Where’s the ball designed to go here? Now let’s make sure that happens, but if they change up the coverage or they do something different, which I’m sure [Eagles defensive coordinator Jim] Schwartz . . . he’s going to throw looks at me that I’ve probably not seen.
“When those things happen, I just have to be able to be smart and take care of the football.”
McCoy presents a different dynamic than Washington faced with Alex Smith under center. Smith, who suffered a season-ending broken leg in a loss to the Houston Texans, had a tendency to be overly careful to avoid turnovers, but also didn’t give his receivers many 50-50 opportunities to make plays in tighter coverage. That proved to be a winning formula when Washington’s run game was rolling and the defense was taking away the run and forcing opposing offenses to be one dimensional.
But the Redskins' run game has suffered since guards Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao were lost for the season, and the defense has allowed an average of 136 rushing yards over the last four games. The unit allowed an average of 72 yards on the ground in the previous four games without giving up 100 in any of those.
All of it adds up to the Redskins needing more from the passing game, and McCoy said he’s discussed that with the pass catchers in his first full week of practice as the starter.
“These guys have the ability to make plays, and in our offense and what we do, we need some explosive plays,” McCoy said. “Giving these guys an opportunity down the field, here and there, to come down with a 50-50 throw, I think we certainly can continue to improve on that, work on that. We’ve talked about it.”
The Eagles' secondary has dealt with injury issues all season, and was without cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones and defensive back Avonte Maddox for Sunday’s win over the Giants. Cornerback Rasul Douglas, who is also banged up, only played two defensive snaps. The status of those players for Monday’s game isn’t yet determined.
Regardless, McCoy knows the Redskins need to produce some big plays in the passing game.
“I just really need to focus on our game plan and what the Eagles are going to do against us,” McCoy said. “When those opportunities present themselves, for me being able to make that split-second quick decision of, is this a chance I want to take here or is it not? Do I trust this guy, or do I not? I think throughout this week, hopefully there’ll be enough times where I can get myself in that position and make a good decision.”
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