Dec 11, 2014 2:39 PM

Redskins expecting McCoy to start Sunday

The Associated Press

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden anticipates Colt McCoy will be sufficiently recovered from a neck injury in time to start Sunday against the New York Giants, adding that McCoy is "in the lead" above Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins despite coming off a subpar performance.

McCoy was officially listed as limited in practice Thursday and will need to receive a final medical clearance on Friday, but Gruden believes McCoy will get the go-ahead from the doctor.

"It's pretty positive right now. ... He looked fine today," Gruden said.

McCoy sprained his neck when he was sacked in the fourth quarter of a 24-0 loss to the St. Louis Rams and could barely swivel his neck when speaking to reporters early this week, but he went through all of his throws with a normal motion during the portion of practice open to reporters Thursday. Gruden said McCoy took most of the snaps with the starting offense.

Griffin will start if McCoy can't. Gruden had hinted earlier in the week that he might go with Griffin anyway in light of the offense's poor output against the Rams, but the decision is yet another sign that RG3's days in Washington could be drawing to a close.

Asked if the decision is based on which quarterback he needs to see in more game action to make a fuller evaluation, Gruden said he's seen plenty from the trio.

"We've had looks at all three quarterbacks," Gruden said. "And based on what we've seen out at practice for the whole training camp and offseason, and the game situations, right now we feel like Colt is in the lead."

Griffin and Cousins have each started five games this season; McCoy has started three.

Griffin was the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012 but has struggled to adjust to the role of a traditional pocket-passer, looking tentative with his footwork and decision-making. A case could be made that he should be playing just to get more trial-by-fire experience and to help the Redskins front office decide whether it's time to move on from the former Heisman Trophy winner in whom they've invested so much.

But Gruden has been candid about Griffin's progress or lack thereof since the first day of training camp, when the coach said: "I could sit here for 35, 40 minutes and talk about what he needs to work on."

McCoy doesn't have the strongest arm, but he can manage a game well if there's sufficient talent around him. He led the Redskins to their only impact victory this season, the Monday night upset of the Dallas Cowboys in October.

But he threw for only 199 yards and had two interceptions vs. the Rams, and it would take another leap of faith to trust the game's most important position long-term to a 28-year-old journeyman who was signed to be a third-stringer.

In any case, Gruden's choice for the final three games could be irrelevant if the rest of the team doesn't provide better support. The three quarterbacks have been sacked a combined 46 times, second-most in the NFL. The running game is inconsistent, and the defense allows big scoring plays that in turn force the offense to play catch-up.

Plus, with the record at 3-10, there's the challenge of staying motivated.

"It's more of a pride issue, because you don't want to be part of a team that has a bad season that gives up at the end," linebacker Keenan Robinson said, "especially when you can do something about it. In the end, we can still have a positive finish to our season."

Notes: Rookie T Morgan Moses is being placed on injured reserve with a Linfranc injury in his foot, suffered at Wednesday's practice. He will have surgery. ... WR DeSean Jackson continues to deal with a leg bruise that caused him to miss the Rams game. Jackson said he was "able to do a little bit more" at practice Thursday.


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