“It’s Kirk’s team.” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, tying his fate
to that of a career backup QB
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
The Washington Redskins, with confusion centering around an injury to their starting quarterback, changed in midstream to a new player while questions linger about the “franchise” player’s relationships with the head coach and owner’s box.
It would be funny if it weren’t true. For the second time.
On Monday, Skins head coach Jay Gruden named Kirk Cousins his “starter for 2015 moving forward.” He went so far as to say, “It’s Kirk’s team.”
“When it’s all said and done, after all the film that we’ve gone through, after all the offseason activity, all of training camp footage, we feel like at this time Kirk Cousins gives us the best chance to win. That’s where we’re going.”
This leaves, once again, nothing but questions surrounding the guy that Cousins jumped over on the depth chart.
Robert Griffin III, in a relatively short chronological time, has gone from savior to martyr — and back again. He’s been hailed and pilloried. He’s said some laughable and cringe-worthy things while giving the appearance of caring more about his self-promotion rather than getting better as a player. But most of all, he’s been beaten senseless behind an offensively inadequate offensive line.
Battered, injured, disabled — reduced now to mere spectator while his latest injury diagnosis is debated and contradicted by those within and without the Redskins organization as his job is taken away from him.
Make no mistake, Griffin’s injury only gives Gruden the opportunity to make this call, one the head coach surely wished he could have done from the first day he took the job. He’s been champing at the bit to tab Cousins “his guy.” Gruden much prefers Cousins’ “field manager” ability over the raw talent of Griffin. Well, what’s left of Griffin’s talent after having his knee shred two season ago, which seems like a lifetime, really.
Cousins is no Pro Bowler. He’s interception prone and weak-armed, barely capable of making the necessary throws at this level. But he knows the offense and is capable at times of moving the football. NFL head coaches prefer quarterbacks they can label and manage, and Griffin isn’t — I should say, wasn’t — that player.
So once again, Griffin languishes while a lesser-talented player takes over. It’ll be a while before Griffin is cleared to play, and when he’s able to return, it’ll most likely be at third string behind Colt McCoy — the people’s champion — who will play the entire game in Thursday night’s preseason finale.
There are those that lament Griffin’s plight, calling for the team to trade or release him so that the player might move on elsewhere to try to resurrect his stalled career. Even when he does return from the concussion that sidelines him, it’s hard to imagine Griffin having any serious trade value. There are reports the team has been shopping him with mild-to-no interest from other teams.
Why surrender any asset when Griffin could simply become available as a free agent soon enough? I’m sure there are those that cringe thinking of Griffin in a Cowboys or Eagles uniform coming back to haunt the Redskins.
But Griffin is shell of what he was when he was the NFL’s 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year. The injuries he’s accumulated in such a short amount of time, coupled with an almost incomprehensible lack of pocket presence, have reduced Griffin’s capabilities and potential so drastically it’s difficult to image him having success elsewhere.
But the player deserves that chance.
He’s known nothing but controversy, duplicity and scandal since midway through his rookie year when he suffered his first injury as a pro — that concussion against the Ravens. Ever since, a dark cloud has hung over his once happy head. He’s become an afterthought — a bad joke in poor taste.
And the team continues to look bad in handling every thing about him. They’ve bungled his injury news — and treatment, for that matter — every single step of the way. It’s time for both parties to come to an amicable separation and get on with their respective lives.
It does no one any good keeping Griffin as the Redskins third quarterback, holding clipboards and headsets on Sundays, being a constant distraction to his teammates who will invariably be asked every week at every media stop about his participation and involvement.
It’s hard to cut bait on a player that cost three first round picks and a second. That’s a hefty investment.
But it’s time to move on. For everyone’s sake.