Colt McCoy left Texas as one of its most beloved and decorated quarterbacks in program history, and while his NFL career didn’t match it, he’s hoping to help his new teammate avoid such an outcome.
McCoy entered an unfortunate situation in 2010 that became even more difficult the following year thanks to the league’s lockout. Now a veteran backup with a youngster ahead of him, he plans to pass the lessons he’s learned to Daniel Jones.
With the NFL lockdown in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones is facing a limited offseason.
“That was probably the worst thing to happen to me as a young quarterback,” McCoy explained Tuesday, “was I played my rookie year and then we went into the lockout going into my second year and I didn’t get the playbook until we had two or three weeks of training camp and that was the first time I knew anything, it was a completely new system. I played decent that year but our team certainly struggled. I think I can take some experience and some lessons learned from that and hopefully help Daniel.
“I think Daniel is well-prepared for this. He played a lot more his rookie year than I did, but still there’s challenges and it’s a new system and new ways to call plays and new philosophy from what we were trying to accomplish as an offense.”
Drafted in the third round in 2010, McCoy played eight games as a rookie for a Browns team that finished 5-11 and fired its coach, Eric Mangini, after the season. Pat Shurmur replaced Mangini in 2011, but with the lockout essentially wiping out the entire offseason, McCoy was forced to learn Shurmur’s system on the fly. The results were predictably poor, with McCoy’s season meeting an early finish after he suffered a concussion on an illegal hit from Pittsburgh’s James Harrison on Thursday night’s national stage.
It’s easy to see some parallels between McCoy’s and Jones’ rookie seasons. Jones played in 13 games as a rookie but posted better numbers with a comparably bad team, compiling a 24-12 touchdown-to-interception ratio (McCoy’s was much worse at 6-9) while also playing for a coach feeling the heat from his very warm seat (as was Mangini in 2010). Jones is also entering his second season with a new coach, with Shurmur (yes, the same coach) departing and first-time head coach Joe Judge replacing him.
Due to the current coronavirus pandemic and the related significant limitations imposed on nearly every facet of everyday life, Jones isn’t going to get the hands-on work he needs to learn a new system efficiently. The Giants, like every team, are attempting to navigate such circumstances with video calls, but there’s no guarantee he’ll get any on-field work in before training camp.
The promising difference between McCoy’s 2011 and Jones’ 2020: The playbook is available for Jones to dive into. Back in 2011, contact was essentially barred because of a lack of a labor agreement. Until signatures dried on a new CBA, players and teams weren’t communicating.
Jones can communicate this time around, both with McCoy, who’s also tasked with learning the offense, and his offensive coaches. It might just have to be remotely.
“I think that I’ll really do my best to be a great resource for him here in this time, as we start hopefully, I don’t know what the rules are yet, but hopefully as we get going on this virtually learning and Zooming on our computers, the installs and things with coach [Jason] Garrett,” McCoy said. “And then Daniel and I will probably spend some time on the phone or getting on our own Zoom calls to really talk about the ins and outs of what we’re doing and as best we can we’re going to have to adapt and face these challenges just like everyone else in the league.
“But certainly I remember that lockout season being a real challenge for me, but I’ll do my best to help Daniel and make sure he’s feeling as confident as he can and we as an offense are feeling as good as we can too.”