Here’s an idea for a great Hollywood story:
Colt McCoy, the former Texas Longhorns star, returns home for Monday Night Football and leads Washington to victory against archrival Dallas, snapping the Cowboys’ six-game winning streak and putting a frown on Jerry Jones’ overexposed face.
If that project isn’t green-lighted, another script has some potential:
Washington turns to its other quarterback who played college football in The Lone Star State and Robert Griffin III displays his remarkable recuperative powers again, shaking off the rust and recapturing enough old magic to vanquish the despised Cowboys.
There’s also a chance that Jay Gruden resurrects the fantasy tale he shut down Sunday:
Bouncing back from his benching, Kirk Cousins shows a national TV audience that he can indeed eliminate turnovers and post the plump stats that make observers swoon, as Washington wins its second consecutive game with him as the starter.
None of the aforementioned plots are likely to play out as written, where Washington gets the W at the end. Dallas opened as 10-point favorites and the spread might grow higher.
The real suspense is which of Washington’s three quarterbacks will start the game, though the intrigue won’t end there.
No matter the results after Gruden names a starter for Monday night, his team will continue to seek long-term answers to its pressing questions at football’s most-important position.
Pickings are slim. There’s a maybe (RG3), a probably not (Cousins) and a definitely not (McCoy).
The latter has a long football career ahead of him if he wants one. It entails holding clipboards for several more years before eventually donning a headset. The son of a coach, McCoy looked and sounded like one after he led the team to a last-second, comeback victory Sunday against the Tennessee Titans at FedEx Field.
“I put in the same time as if I was the starter every week,” he said. “Even though I don’t get the reps, I spend a lot time there in the building watching tapes, doing the things I would have to do to get myself prepared.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen. Robert might be back, ready to play, and if he is I’m sure they’ll go with him. But who knows? For me, my approach is just to get ready for the Cowboys and whatever happens, happens.”
McCoy relieved Cousins to start the second half and demonstrated the value of a quality backup QB. He completed 11 of 12 passes for 128 yards, including a 70-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Pierre Garcon. Subtract that play and McCoy averaged a mere 5.8 yards per completion, the result of safe, short passes that a game-manager is expected to make.
Cousins has also proved his worth as a No. 2 quarterback, which actually is a pretty sweet job, all things considered. He has stepped in for Griffin and played well at times, but poorly at other times. Unfortunately, his overall execution in the last five games has been too spotty to justify much faith in his ability to be an effective, long-term starter.
On Washington’s next-to-last series of the first half against Tennessee, Cousins threw his ninth interception of the season (only Jacksonville rookie Blake Bortles, with 10, has more). Cousins’ pass went directly to linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who barely left his feet in making the play.
The offense took the field again with 1:04 left before intermission. Cousins didn’t turn the ball over on that possession, but he did unleash a wild, reckless incompletion over the middle, the sort of pass that easily could have been picked off.
It suggested that more such throws remained in his system.
Gruden lost enough faith on Sunday to outweigh concerns about potentially wrecking Cousins’ confidence in himself. But whether the coach truly believes in him, or merely put up a good front, reassurances were offered after the game.
“He did some great things so far and he’s going to do some great things in the NFL,” Gruden said. “There’s no question about it. His career is not over; his season is not over.”
But you have to figure that his time as the starter is over. RG3 will get the call as soon he’s ready (although Washington should be extremely cautious about that determination) and McCoy probably keeps the job until then.
Only one Hollywood-ending seems likely here and it doesn’t contain a leading role for McCoy or Cousins: RG3 comes back, plays better and stays healthy.
Otherwise, the quarterback position continues to be a leading storyline in Washington’s long-running tragicomedy.
Since being a joke seems to sell the same as being a winner, maybe it doesn’t matter.