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Lowell Cohn: 49ers' backup quarterback emerges

  • San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colt McCoy (2) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Audie Cole during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SAN FRANCISCO -- This column is about 49ers' first backup quarterback, Colt McCoy. But I have something to admit up front. I have zero interest in McCoy and I bet you feel the same.

Never in my life did I think I'd write about McCoy. I would have preferred to write about the four moron fans who ran onto the Candlestick field Sunday night, but that's not football and, as the players say, I only want to talk about football.

Which brings me to McCoy who, almost certainly, is not the real McCoy. The 49ers acquired him in the offseason to play second fiddle to starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who played in the first quarter Sunday night against the Minnesota Vikings and did very well, as you would expect.

After that, coach Jim Harbaugh inserted McCoy into the game, such as it was. McCoy had been having a miserable preseason. He had looked like a very bad quarterback for a long time. His acquisition looked like a mistake.

McCoy started his latest assignment miserably. "Miserable" is a word that sticks with him. In the second quarter, he threw a pick and he completed four passes for an average "distance" of 3.3 yards. You could get more distance with a peashooter.

Rumors had been swirling the Niners were trying to trade McCoy. You could see why. It also is a fact that the team recently restructured McCoy's contract, which means they took away a bunch of dough and now are paying him the league minimum. That would be $630,000 plus incentives, a pittance to a ballplayer, although it's a ton of dough to you and me.

Why the restructure?

Well, if the Niners are paying him peanuts, he would be easy to trade. On the other hand — and this is interesting — they could be less eager to cut a guy making next to nothing.

This is the stuff you think about in preseason, convoluted stuff you hate thinking about.

And you think about this, also. Harbaugh played McCoy the second and third quarters. That's a lot of playing time considering Harbaugh had three other quarterbacks salivating to play.


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