ASHBURN, Va. -- At one point, early in his career, it looked like it might go different for quarterback Colt McCoy. And then it changed. He went from an interesting young player for the Cleveland Browns, starting 21 games his first two seasons, to a guy looking for a job a few years later.
That search brought him to the Washington Redskins this offseason. It also left him as a third string quarterback. That's where he'll likely stay, barring injuries (or another team trading for Kirk Cousins, which remains unlikely).
"Sometimes you have to take a step back to take a few steps forward," said McCoy, a former third-round draft choice by the Browns.
He also enters as the oldest quarterback, though he's only 27. Yes, he can provide some veteran advice, but this is not akin to Rex Grossman doing so the past two years. Grossman had played in a Super Bowl and started 47 games. McCoy has started 21 games; Robert Griffin III has started 28 -- as well as a playoff game.
But McCoy does have experience learning a new system: This is the fifth he's learned in five years. He also played behind a blossoming young quarterback last year in San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick.
"I'm always competing, no question," McCoy said. "That's what they want me to do. But at the same time being in a position last year with Colin I felt like I helped him as much as I could and I certainly will do the same thing here with Robert. It's been a good transition so far."
The Redskins never seriously entertained trading Cousins; several sources said during the draft Cleveland discussed a fourth-round pick with them but Washington wanted more. Though McCoy offers experience, Cousins has a stronger arm and having both gives the Redskins plenty of insurance if Griffin has to miss time.
"I didn't think about all that," McCoy said. "I just wanted to go to a place they wanted me and felt I would fit in. When I visited here I felt all those things with Jay [Gruden], with Bruce [Allen] and with Sean [McVay]. It just felt right."
Former University of Texas teammate Brian Orakpo is glad McCoy is around.
"He's been there, done that. Now we have two viable backups to come in and do their thing if anything [like a] worst-case scenario about Robert," Orakpo said. "I'm just glad he's on board."