Colt McCoy hasn’t done much on the field in his pro career to show that he’s an NFL quarterback. However, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh told CSN Bay Area’s Mike Maaiocco that Colt was his guy to backup Colin Kaepernick.
“I feel real good about Colt as the backup quarterback,” Harbaugh said after another sub-par performance by McCoy against the Minnesota Vikings Saturday night.
Widely considered around the league as a quarterback guru, Harbaugh made many experts head’s spin with the comment. In order for me to not devalue Harbaugh’s worth as a coach or QB expert, I had to shift my train of thought away from analyst to coach for a moment.
From a pure analyst’s standpoint, McCoy and Scott Tolzien are obvious cuts. Both Tolzien and McCoy have weak arms by NFL standards, lack consistent accuracy, and appear to not have the capacity to keep their eyes down-field in the face of pressure — which are musts for QBs to succeed at this level.
So why cut Tolzien and make McCoy your No. 2? In a word, experience.
Harbaugh simply couldn’t justify making a very raw rookie his backup, even though his rookie did outperform both McCoy and Tolzien this preseason in very limited time. We must keep in mind that in spite of the flashes of arm talent and athletic ability B.J. Daniels showed, he never had to go against anything better than a third-team defense in the preseason and comes from a very small school.
The Seneca Wallace signing means that the 49ers likely have their No. 3 as well, so look for Daniels to make the roster as a special teams man this season.
On a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, you need a backup that is less of an unknown than Daniels, and Wallace hasn’t been with the team long enough to qualify. While McCoy is not nearly as talented as either, you do know what you’re going to get out of him — yes, you will get a few erratic picks and throws, but you also get superb character, toughness and a firm understanding of what it means to lead a team — all attributes Harbaugh holds in very high regard.
McCoy agreed to restructure his deal Saturday, and no one bit on him when he was dangled on the trade market over the weekend, leaving the 49ers in a strange, but obvious position from a managerial standpoint.
While it’s hard to imagine you can win any job by default at this level, McCoy has shown it can be done.
For more on the 49ers, check out Lucas Carreras breaking down the five things to take away from the 49ers third game of this preseason.