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Chris Cooley: Colt McCoy is a top 32 NFL quarterback

Chris Cooley: Colt McCoy is a top 32 NFL quarterback

BY KEVIN CONNELL (@_KevinConnell)

Count Chris Cooley among the Colt McCoy believers.

Cooley, a former Redskins tight end, said on ESPN 980 Monday that the Redskins backup quarterback was good enough to be a starter on a number of NFL teams this season.

“I feel so comfortable with Colt McCoy as our backup quarterback,” Cooley said, according to the Washington Post. “I would put Colt McCoy theoretically in the top 32 quarterbacks in the league. I think there are six teams he could start for this year.”

After the show, Cooley, along with the Post’s Dan Steinberg, came up with specific teams for which he believed McCoy could start. Using a recent ESPN.com quarterback rankings story as a reference, Cooley appeared to say that McCoy could start for the Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

Previously, McCoy told Steinberg that he had five offers this past offseason, including the Redskins, though he wouldn’t have been competing for the starting job with any of them.

During last Friday’s 22-18 preseason win over New York Jets at FedEx Field, McCoy completed 13 of 16 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns along with one interception. He started the game after a pregame decision was made to rest starter Kirk Cousins and played the entire first half.

Cooley said McCoy had “great timing and command of the offense,” but added that he was “doing a little too much” when he slides and moves in the pocket “when he doesn’t have to.”

In the Redskins’ first preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 11, McCoy was 7 of 11 for 53 yards in relief of Cousins, who started and played briefly in the game.

McCoy, 29, started four games for the Redskins in 2014 before a season-ending injury. He also started 21 games for the Browns across three seasons from 2010-12. He was a backup with the 49ers in 2013 before signing with the Redskins.

For his NFL career, McCoy has thrown for 5,586 yards, 26 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.

Rookie quarterback Nate Sudfeld, the team’s likely third-string quarterback this season, went 10 for 20 passing with 77 yards and one score against the Jets. The touchdown, an 18-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Kendal Thompson with 29 seconds remaining, helped give the Redskins the win.

RELATED: EVEN AS STARTER, KIRK COUSINS KNOWS HARSH REALITY OF NFL

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Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade. And Landon Collins has made public appeals to him before

Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade. And Landon Collins has made public appeals to him before

The Jacksonville Jaguars 2019 regular season has not gone according to plan.

In Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs, starting quarterback Nick Foles broke his clavicle and was placed on IR, and following a Week 2 loss to the Houston Texans, the team's star defensive back Jalen Ramsey has reportedly requested a trade.

Ramsey and head coach Doug Marrone got into it verbally during the loss to Houston and according to multiple reports, the fractured relationship could expedite a potential trade.

The Jaguars are reportedly asking for at least one first-round pick in return for the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback.

It's worth noting that Ramsey's agent, David Mulugheta, also represents Redskins Dwayne Haskins and Landon Collins. Collins tweeted at Ramsey back in April, jokingly recruiting Ramsey to D.C. after Jaguars' VP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin called out Ramsey for missing voluntary offseason workouts and the latter responded

Ramsey, who was the fifth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, is currently looking for a new contract. He is currently in the fourth year of his rookie deal and the Jaguars have picked up his fifth-year option in 2020.

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Jay Gruden address comments that he doesn't like AP's running style: 'You want north-south running backs'

Jay Gruden address comments that he doesn't like AP's running style: 'You want north-south running backs'

In the early stages of Sunday's Redskins-Cowboys clash, FOX Sports' Pam Oliver dropped a bombshell on the broadcast.

"Jay Gruden, to be perfectly clear, he is still not in favor of Peterson's strength, which is a north-south running style," Oliver said. "He feels like it limits the offense and gives the defense way too many opportunities."

If true, that helps explain the decision the Redskins head coach made prior to Week 1, making the 34-year-old and future Hall of Fame running back a healthy scratch for the first time in his career.

What it doesn't explain is the reasoning behind it. Peterson, who was signed just a couple of weeks prior to the 2018 season, ran for over 1,000 yards for the Burgundy and Gold a season ago, earning the team's Offensive Most Valuable Player award.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with Gruden, NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay asked the head coach about Oliver's comments.

Gruden refuted the claim. 

"You want north-south running backs. I don’t think you want east-west backs, that’s for sure," Gruden said. "[Peterson] is a north-south runner....when he gets going north-south, what that does is creates a physical mentality for our offense. Our linemen love it, and it opens up our play-action passes. We do love north-south backs.”

What the fifth-year head coach did touch on, however, is the limited amount of plays that the offense can run with Peterson is in the game. That could explain the origin of where Oliver's comments came from. 

"[Peterson] is a north-south runner," Gruden said. "What that does, sometimes, ya know it’s hard when he’s in the game, like yesterday we were in 11 personnel and they but base on the field and said ‘heck you’re just not going to run it’ and you know we had to throw it." 

It's no secret that Gruden prefers a running back that can be involved in the passing game as well. While Peterson has improved in that facet, the Redskins other options -- Chris Thompson, Wendell Smallwood, and even the injured Derrius Guice -- are currently better pass-catching backs.

Of the Redskins 62 offensive snaps, Thompson, the best pass-catching running back of the bunch, was the one who played the most. Peterson played just 18 snaps, 29 percent of the team's offensive plays.

The flow of the game also could have affected this, as the Redskins found themselves trailing for the majority of the afternoon. 

Still, Gruden insists that there's a role for Peterson in the offense.

"You know, he played last year and had a thousand yards, so..." he said.

Regardless of who the running back has been for the Burgundy and Gold thus far in 2019, they largely have been ineffective.

Against Philadelphia, Guice mustered just 18 rushing yards on 10 carries. Peterson received the same amount of carries in Week 2 vs. Dallas and didn't perform much better. Sure, he found the end zone, but was not a factor otherwise, rushing for a total of just 25 yards.

Through the first two games, the Redskins have been outrushed 336-75. That is not a winning formula by any means.

When asked why the rushing attack has been so poor in 2019, Gruden couldn't point to one specific reason.

"Combination of things," Gruden said. "Philadelphia, we tried to run the ball in the second half and we had a negative play and a holding penalty. You know, there are things that take you out of the running game, and then you lose the lead and you have to try and play a little bit faster, play a little bit of catch up and you aren’t able to run the ball. So, we haven’t been able to stick with the run for four quarters and we haven’t had enough production out of the running game."

That must change immediately, starting next Monday against Chicago, if the Redskins want to turn their season around. Gruden is confident that it will.

"We had a couple of good hits, AP had a couple of good hits [Sunday] against Dallas, we can build off of that," he said. "But I also think that when you have a new left tackle and a new left guard coming in for the first time and you have the tight end issues we’ve had a little bit, I think we’ll get there."

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