Colt McCoy readies for return to Texas

ASHBURN, Va. -- Colt McCoy sees a difference in himself from the last time he started. The Washington Redskins quarterback is a little older, a little stronger and, he hopes, a little wiser from the lessons he’s learned. His road to this point hasn’t been easy, going from a rookie starter to a third-stringer in his fifth season.

But now he’ll get one game, at the least, to show that he is better than he was during his last time starting. McCoy hasn’t started since Dec. 8, 2011, with Cleveland. Since then, he’s appeared in eight games, having thrown a combined 30 passes.

He relieved Kirk Cousins for the second half of Washington’s 19-17 win over Tennessee. McCoy completed 11 of 12 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.

“It’s tough, but I wouldn’t change a thing,” McCoy said of his career. “I wouldn’t change some of my past experience. I’ve learned a lot from them -- a whole lot. My path in the NFL so far has been a lot different than other guys, but I’m thankful for the things I’ve learned and the experience I’ve gained."

Redskins coach Jay Gruden called McCoy one of college football’s most successful quarterbacks. And, he said, having watched him play in Cleveland, Gruden viewed McCoy as a talented player.

“I always liked the way he played,” Gruden said. “His accuracy, his toughness, has always been a strong quality of his."

McCoy will start Monday’s game at Dallas, barring a major improvement from Robert Griffin III in practice. Griffin has always been considered a long shot to start Monday, but the Redskins have left open a just-in-case possibility.

For McCoy, it would be a chance to start in his native state -- he did start a game there against Houston when he played for the Browns (they lost, 30-12). He also starred at the University of Texas.

“It’s really unbelievable,” McCoy said of a possible start in Texas. “I can’t even sometimes take my mind there. But I’m really just trying to approach this as a professional and know this is our next game.

“I was going to get a few tickets before I wasn’t playing and now it has turned into a laundry list. I don’t want it to be too big of a distraction though. I am excited about going back to Dallas. It is going to be a lot of fun.”

This will be the first time McCoy has taken first-team reps in practice since the '11 season. If Griffin is ready next week, then it could be the last time he takes those reps for a while.

“I’ll get some timing down with receivers, with the O-line, work on silent counts,” McCoy said. "A lot of things that I just hadn’t been able to do. So it’ll be a huge week in practice for me to get more comfortable. This is a huge game for us and our season."