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Colt McCoy, and the lessons of the 2011 NFL lockout

New Giants’ backup quarterback remembers being a young quarterback during the lockout season

New England Patriots v Washington Redskins
Colt McCoy
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Colt McCoy was a second-year quarterback heading into his first — and it turns out only — season as a full-time starter in 2011. That was the NFL lockout season, the last time the league has an interrupted offseason.

Signed recently to back up Giants’ second-year quarterback Daniel Jones, McCoy said on a conference Friday that missed preseason was the “worst thing” that happened to his career.

“That was probably the worst thing that happened to me as a young quarterback,” McCoy said. “I played my rookie year and then we went into the lockout going into my second year.

“It was a completely new system. I played decent that year but our team certainly struggled.”

The Giants enter a 2020 season where Jones will deal with an interrupted offseason due to the league-wide shutdown forced by COVID-19, and will also have to learn an entirely new offense with a new head coach in Joe Judge and offensive coordinator in Jason Garrett.

“I think I can take some experiences and some lessons learned from that and hopefully help Daniel,” McCoy said. “I think Daniel is well prepared for this. He played a lot more his rookie year than I did. But still, there is challenges. It’s a new system and new ways to call plays and new philosophy from what we’re trying to accomplish as an offense.”

The Giants have one opportunity that McCoy did not have as a young quarterback with the Cleveland Browns during that 2011 season. During the lockout, teams were not allowed to distribute playbooks or have contact with players until training camps opened. McCoy believes the Giants will be able to get playbooks and begin virtual learning on Monday. That’s April 6, the date teams with new head coaches were expected to be able to begin their offseason programs.

“I’ll really do my best to be a great resource for him. Hopefully as we get going on virtually learning and Zooming we’re going to have to adapt and face these challenges just like everybody else in the league,” McCoy said.

“Certainly I remember that lockout season being a real challenge. 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.”

McCoy, who turns 34 in September has played in 39 games with 28 starts during a 10-year career that has seen him spend time with the Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins.

Coaching in his future?

Judge wants teachers on his coaching staff. McCoy seems to be following that path, expressing interest in becoming a coach when his playing career is done.

“What if I wanted to be a coach some day?,” McCoy said. “I’ve been in a lot of different systems. My dad was my high school coach. I’ve been a water boy since I was like 3 years old. I’ve been around the game and love the game. ...

“Coaching intrigues me, yes. I think that that could be in my future.”

Being a backup

“Playing backup creates a lot of challenges ... it’s unique but I just sort of try to be another set of eyes, another set of ears, another encouraging voice and like a coach for whoever the starter is.

“It will help me if I want to make a transition some day to be a coach, to call plays. I want to understand and learn this system in a way that is detailed, it’s structured and that I could call the game just like Jason [Garrett] would call the game.”

A Giant disadvantage?

McCoy admitted the current shutdown could be more problematic for the Giants than for teams with established staffs and systems.

“I think some teams who are going to continue in the same system maybe have a little bit of an advantage,” McCoy said. “I think the teams like us who have a new coach and a new system are at a little bit of a disadvantage. But, that can’t be a crutch or an excuse.”