But the right leg that was supposed to have healed after three offseason surgeries is hurting again, forcing McCoy to miss the team’s first two preseason games. After Thursday’s second preseason game, Gruden said “starting isn’t even in the equation now” when asked about McCoy, adding that the quarterback has to get healthy. After McCoy didn’t practice Sunday, Gruden sounded even more dire, saying McCoy might miss the last two preseason games and possibly more.
“It may not be the end of camp. It may be two or three weeks into the season,” Gruden said. “We don’t know yet. There is no timetable for him until he feels 100 percent and can push off that leg. Until that time comes he’s going to be rehabbing.”
Later, he seemed to take back that projection, saying he doesn’t “anticipate him being out too long.”
Still, the fact McCoy’s leg isn’t right almost nine months after he cracked his right fibula in the team’s Dec. 3 loss at Philadelphia is concerning. Doctors operated on the leg, hoping to cut the healing time to two weeks with the thought that McCoy could return for the season’s final game against Philadelphia — a point that became moot when the Redskins were eliminated from playoff contention. At the time, McCoy felt like he might have been able to play that final game and he seemed sure he would be healthy for offseason workouts, ready to fight for a job opened up by Alex Smith’s potentially career-ending broken leg.
McCoy had complications in his recovery, however, and eventually had the three surgeries that forced him to miss all of the organized team activities and minicamps. He returned for training camp and spoke passionately about trying to win the starting role. Less than two weeks into camp, however, he hobbled out of a practice, rested for a week, practiced the last two days of the Richmond camp and worked only in individual drills in the first workout Tuesday in Ashburn. He has not practiced since.
McCoy said he has seen renowned foot specialist Robert Anderson “a couple of times” but does not seem to know exactly what is wrong with his leg.
“It’s not quite right,” he said.
McCoy’s absence has turned the quarterback competition into a two-man battle between Keenum and Haskins with, Keenum appearing to have the edge based on experience and the fact he was worked with the first-team offense for much of the summer. Gruden said he hopes to identify a starter after Thursday’s third preseason game in Atlanta.
“They’re getting all the reps, which is good. It’s not good for Colt, obviously,” Gruden said. “But what’s most important for Colt is to get that thing to a point where he can fire off it, push off it. It’s his right leg, and so he’s not getting enough push off it, and until he’s 100 percent doing that, I’m not going to put him out there.”
Gruden has long suggested that McCoy’s rush to come back at the end of last season led to the quarterback’s regression this winter. Neither he nor McCoy have fully explained the details of what happened and why McCoy needed three operations on a cracked fibula.
“This is probably his best chance [to win the starting quarterback job],” running back Chris Thompson said of McCoy, who has spent the past five years in Washington as a backup. “He’s been a totally different quarterback [this summer]. He’s just seeing everything. His throws have been different. I know for him, he thought this was his chance.”
A few feet away, McCoy slowly left the room Sunday. His foot seemed to hurt even as he walked. He looked at the floor and shook his head. So many of his NFL chances over the past 10 years have been damaged by injuries that have come at terrible times.
“Sooner or later, I’ll be back out there,” he said.