Colt McCoy was the surprise starter for the Redskins in their Friday night preseason game against the Jets. And it wasn’t just the fans and media who were surprised by seeing McCoy being center for the first snap. McCoy himself didn’t find out that he would be starting until shortly before kickoff.

Jay Gruden said that he decided on Friday morning to rest Kirk Cousins and a number of other starters to see what players like McCoy could do if they had to go into action with short notice, a “sudden change” scenario that could happen when the games start to count.

“It was nice to get some time with the ones,” said McCoy. But he really didn’t get to play with the ones. Three of the top pass catchers, Jordan Reed, Pierre Garçon, and DeSean Jackson, joined Cousins on the sideline. Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams also was scratched from the lineup. That’s a lot of production and protection sitting out.

McCoy ended up having a pretty good game but he got off to a rocky start. The Redskins’ first possession ended deep in New York territory when McCoy rolled right and threw an interception to Darrelle Revis in the end zone.

“I was trying to throw the ball away,” said McCoy. “My knee kind of buckled and the ball stayed inbounds. That was an embarrassing play by me, but I think if you take that away, we were pretty efficient.”


McCoy is right, he was efficient. He completed 13 of 16 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns.

Things really started to click in the second quarter. “We finally got some looks we wanted,” said McCoy.

Five straight passes put 14 points in the board for the Redskins. The first four came in a 53-yard drive the culminated in McCoy going to Rashad Ross on a fade route for three yards and a touchdown.

The other one was a quick strike. Will Blackmon picked off a Geno Smith pass and ran it to the Jets 39. On the first play McCoy threw to Ross in the end zone. The receiver did a good job of fighting the ball away from the defender and securing it for a touchdown.