November 25, 2020

Washington Redskins 2015 Season Position Outlooks: Quarterbacks

Last year the Washington Redskins were an absolute mess at the quarterback position, doomed as soon as Robert Griffin III went down with a serious ankle injury early in a Week 2 encounter with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The 2012 rookie of the year missed six weeks with the injury leading to Kirk Cousins getting the nod to take Griffin’s place. Due to ineffectiveness, Cousins was replaced at halftime during a Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans by third string QB Colt McCoy. After leading the Redskins to a comeback win against the Titans, McCoy kept it going with a win at Dallas.

Although at an all-time high, McCoy was not given the opportunity to start the following week once Griffin was cleared to return. Three straight losses later and Griffin was benched for the offenses’s lack of scoring and McCoy got another opportunity. Although in a losing effort against the Colts, McCoy jump started the offense but was let down by his miserable defense. However after McCoy was shutout the next week against the Rams, Griffin was given back his starting quarterback title where he finished the season 1-2 against the NFC East.

When you have five quarterback changes during the course of the season, it is not surprising that a team finishes 4-12. Out of 100, Griffin, Cousins, and McCoy had QB ratings of 33.5, 46.9, and 46.6 respectively. Clearly nothing Jay Gruden and the Redskins tried had much success and probably the lone positive out of such a disastrous season was the partial overhaul of team management and coaching staff as well as being able to keep the 5th overall selection in the 2015 drafts after going without first round picks in 2013 and 14 due to the selection of RG3 in 2012.

It is a new season! Scot McCloughan is in charge as the Redskins General Manager, Brandon Scherff is ready to start immediately (possibly at right guard) on an offensive line that was terrible last year, and the hiring of coaches Matt Cavanaugh (quarterbacks) and Bill Callahan (offensive line) are steps in the right direction to improve the offense.

After Jay Gruden already announced Griffin as the starting quarterback early in the offseason and Scot McCloughan told the media that the franchise would be picking up the fifth-year option of RG3, it is Griffin’s Week 1 job to lose. Gruden has been highly optimistic about Griffin’s progress in the second year of his offense throughout OTAs, minicamp, and now training camp. They key for Griffin will be continuing to make decisions quickly by progressing through his reads faster in order to stay out of trouble by either taking a sack or committing a turnover by trying to do too much.

The addition of Brandon Scherff at right guard and Morgan Moses at right tackle, which seems to be the current starting lineup for the team in training camp, should be an upgrade in pass protection from last year’s disgraceful performances from Chris Chester and Tyler Polumbus. Callahan’s transition to a power running game might revitalize Alfred Morris‘s decline in production over the past three season and could also help rookie RB Matt Jones to make an impact as well. If the running game comes back to life, it will enable Griffin to have the linebackers frozen during play action sets which led to much of the team’s success in 2012.

With all the expectations of a quarterback competition at the end of last season and before Gruden surprisingly named Griffin the starting go forward, little expected that the main competition would come at the backup position. Gruden again surprised some by saying having three quarterbacks on the 53 man roster is “not set in stone” this past week. In Cincinnati, where Gruden was the offensive coordinator, the Bengals never had a third string quarterback. Although it is more than likely that both Cousins and McCoy will stay on the roster, there spots will still have to be earned during the preseason, when Gruden said more will be decided.

Cousins, 26, has less NFL experience than McCoy, 27, much in part to the fact that McCoy was the Cleveland Brown’s primary quarterback in the 2010 and ’11 seasons. Injuries and coaching turmoil ruined any chance McCoy might have had at success after a sound career at the University of Texas. Cousins was also a winner in college with Michigan State but his high interception rate (4.7%- 1 in every 21 attempts) have been his biggest down side. This can be characterized in the far fewer trade rumors involving Cousins since a rather strong rookie year defined on his one start against the Cleveland Browns.

With Jay Gruden not naming a second string quarterback and Cousins splitting second team practice reps with McCoy it looks as if everything will be decided during preseason play. Right now the best guess is a coin flip. McCoy got the opportunity to play after Griffin was benched midway through last season, but Kirk Cousins was listed as the second string quarterback on the first official depth chart of the 2015 season. It could be that there is not enough tape on Cousins to give up on him yet, while the production from McCoy has already reached its ceiling. If the Redskins want to try and build a franchise around someone, if the only choices were Cousins and McCoy, it would be Cousins. But if they needed someone to play a series at the end of the game after an injury to Griffin, that might by McCoy.

The hope for Redskins fans is that the battle to backup Griffin is a mute subject where the former rookie of the year returns to form and is able to complete the entire 2015 season injury free. The talent around Griffin is certainly there with a receiving corp that includes DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, and Jordan Reed. The offensive line and running backs look to be in a better position now than they were this time last year. It will be up to Griffin to effectively orchestrate the offense in order to improve from their mediocre 18.8 PPG last year which ranked 26th in the league.

Projected Week 1 Depth Chart: Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy, Kirk Cousins

Come back and visit District Sports Page for the next position outlook on running backs tomorrow.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.


  1. […] reads could also assist in the continued development of Robert Griffin III. As mentioned in the position outlook on quarterbacks, it will be up to Griffin to utilize the talented receiving weapons around him in order to return […]

  2. […] our outlook on what to expect from the different units of the Washington Redskins offense. The quarterback position will be mostly determined by Robert Griffin III‘s execution of head coach Jay […]

  3. […] article, Washington Redskins 2015 Season Position Outlooks: Quarterbacks, first appeared on District Sports […]

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