A 36-year-old veteran with 12 seasons of experience, Colt McCoy knows the work of a backup quarterback is never done.
That's especially true when said backup is preparing to make his second start of the year against a ferocious 49ers defense. Sitting intently in an otherwise empty film room, McCoy walked Wednesday's Hard Knocks in Season: The Arizona Cardinals viewers through his thoughts on a last-minute film study and what it means to play in showcases like Monday Night Football in Mexico City.
"I like to get in like a day before a game and just buzz through a couple," McCoy said. "If a situation comes up in a game, I can recognize something that I've seen."
It doesn't sound like anything extraordinary, yet the commitment to readiness is why McCoy continues to be in demand year in and year out. Long before franchise QB Kyler Murray was sidelined with a hamstring injury, a veteran like McCoy undoubtedly prepared as a starter would down to the second. Now thrust into that role for the time being, McCoy's approach allows him to continue his process with nary a chance of being overwhelmed.
After Monday, it's clear the process glimpsed in the show's third episode worked -- at least in regard to McCoy's individual performance.
The ailing Cardinals were vastly outmatched by a 49ers squad that is hitting its stride, and fell, 38-10, but the journeyman backup completed 70% of his passes for the second week in a row. He was rarely fooled by what he saw in coverage, and his one interception came on a tipped pass.
The outcome was a far cry from McCoy's surprise 31-17 victory over San Francisco during a different relief start in Week 9, 2021, but that contrast has become a theme of Arizona's 2022 season in the shadow of last year's playoff run.
While the Cardinals' Super Bowl aspirations have started to slip away, Hard Knocks remains at the top of its game at finding the human element within football.
"I think it's cool the NFL does this, playing in different places," McCoy said about the opportunity to take the field at Estadio Azteca in Mexico. "You know, I've played in London twice. Never on Monday Night Football, though. I remember as a kid I would -- my dad was a high school football coach -- and I would bring over my teammates and we'd all get to watch the first half, Monday Night Football at the house. So, the times that I've played on Monday night in my career, it always takes me back. Never thought I'd ever do that. So, it's pretty cool."
Despite all his experience, the personal nostalgia and international spectacle of a Monday night game in Mexico City were never lost on McCoy.
He handled the challenge like only the son of a high school football coach would, and he'll continue to stay ready, regardless of whether it's as QB1 or QB2 in the weeks to come.
Hard Knocks In Season: The Arizona Cardinals airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max and will run until the end of the Cardinals' season.