Colt McCoy was not effective at quarterback against the Rams on Sunday. He completed 20 of 32 passes for 199 yards with two interceptions. That comes to a passer rating of 54.
The Redskins got nothing going on offense; they took just one snap in the red zone and got shut out for the first time since the John Beck-led Washington team lost to the Bills 23-0 in 2011.
So what did Jay Gruden have to say about McCoy’s performance after looking at the film?
“Well, he was put in some tough situations,” said Gruden during his Monday news conference. “We continue to punish ourselves with holding calls, false starts, mis-targeting a run, poor technique from time to time and we leave ourselves in third down and too long, and we are not very good on third down obviously. And then in the second half when it became a one-dimensional game, we’re not good enough to overcome those right now at this time. So, unfortunate, it wasn’t all on Colt. Obviously he had some issues with protection. Our backs missed a few, our line missed one or two and it was a tough day for the quarterback.”
Read through that again and see if you can find anything that actually places any responsibility on McCoy for his performance. Maybe the part about “poor technique from time to time”. Perhaps when he said “we are not very good on third down” he put some of the fault on the quarterback. But overall, McCoy got kid gloves treatment by the coach here.
Let’s go back a few weeks to the day after the Redskins’ 27-7 loss to the Bucs in Week 11. Robert Griffin III was not effective in that game with a stat line very similar to the one that McCoy put up against the Rams. Griffin completed 23 of 32 for 207 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown pass.
Here is what Gruden had to say about Griffin’s performance during that game during his day-after press conference:
“Just from Robert’s perspective – you take everybody else out of the picture – Robert had some fundamental flaws,” said Gruden. “He did. His footwork was below average. He took three-step drops when he should have taken five. He took a one-step drop when he should have taken three on a couple of occasions. That can’t happen. He stepped up when he didn’t have to step up, stepped into pressure, he read the wrong side of the field a couple of times. So, from his basic performance just critiquing Robert, it was not even close to being good enough to what we expect from that quarterback position.”
To sum it up, McCoy has a bad game and it’s because “he was put in some tough situations”. Griffin stinks up FedEx Field and he “had some fundamental flaws.” You be the judge.
Fairness dictates that I point out that two days after taking down Griffin, Gruden did say that it was a mistake to do it so perhaps he is taking a kinder, gentler approach with his quarterbacks in public. But to essentially hold McCoy blameless in a shutout while holding Griffin to a much higher standard doesn’t seem to be equitable.
Also in the interest of fairness I need to pass along this quote from McCoy speaking in the locker room on Monday.
“We’re obviously very disappointed,” he told a group of reporters. “We just have to go back to work and figure out the things we can do better, things we can improve. We need get our run game going. Our protection failed a lot yesterday. And I certainly have to play better, too.”
The emphasis is added.
I think you can imagine that there would be quite an uproar if No. 10 had said the same thing, even with the immediate addition that he needed to play better, too.
Personally, I don’t have an issue with either quarterback talking about protection. Both quarterbacks have been at fault for some of the 29 sacks they have taken over the last five games. But the line, backs and tight ends have been awful in protection in recent weeks.
But if one quarterback is going to get called out for throwing his teammates under the bus, shouldn’t the other one get the same treatment for doing the same thing?