I think Colt McCoy is a decent backup quarterback and suspect that Gruden agrees. McCoy has a little less arm strength than Cousins but his other tools are comparable and his athleticism is actually superior. As a 27-year-old vet with starting experience, impeccable character, high football IQ, fair arm talent, and above-average legs, McCoy could be a suitable QB2 behind a mobile starter like RGIII for a few years after Cousins moves on, which is foreseeable in the next 12 months. If McCoy had to take over for RGIII for a game or two, I don’t think the playbook would shrink much because he’s smart enough and he can move. As an added bonus, he carries zero “controversy” potential. For these reasons, I think Gruden will seriously consider keeping three quarterbacks among the final 53. This would generate several interesting ripples.
Gruden could go with an unbalanced roster to accommodate the extra QB but I would argue this defense needs all the help it can get. More likely he would assign the traditional 25 to offense, 25 to D, plus three specialists. Three QBs, then, would probably mean:
- six receivers,
- three tight ends,
- four running backs, and
- nine offensive linemen.
The receivers are probably Jackson, Garcon, Roberts, Grant, Robinson, and Moss, with Hankerson’s fate in the balance for six more weeks on PUP.
The tight ends are definitely Reed, Paulsen, and Paul.
That makes RB and OL very intriguing. Five backs may be worthy—or 10 linemen more comfortable—but where else can you pinch?
Morris and Young are locks. That would leave two spots for Helu, Royster, Thompson, Seastrunk, and Redd. Helu is probably safe based on experience and pass-blocking. I’d give Seastrunk the edge after that, being a draft pick with superlative big-play ability, but it’s not clear. His blocking and receiving are big question marks. Thompson has electric speed too but can’t stay healthy. Royster is solid but lacks any special trait. Redd seems surprisingly well-rounded for an undrafted rookie but could probably be stashed on the practice squad. No matter which guy is added to Morris, Helu, and Young, three guys with useful tools would be getting cut.
Nine linemen would include five all-but-certain starters (Williams, Lauvao, Lichtensteiger, Chester, and Polumbus), plus four backups. Drafted rookies Moses and Long are locks. Compton, though still underachieving, seems safe (for now), unless Moses makes huge strides on the right side in the last two preseason games. McGlynn also seems pretty safe as backup C/G, based on playing time and his history with Gruden. That’s nine, so slow-developing Shanny holdovers LeRibeus and Gettis would both be gone. Those cuts might be merited but would represent much worse organizational returns on investment than fans might expect from William Hill betting.
This whole exercise is moot if Gruden deems McCoy expendable.
But I think he’s staying, so some of these cuts are going to hurt.