It’s hard to believe the Washington Redskins aren’t relieved to know Robert Griffin III isn’t going to be out for the season. Instead, his ankle injury should keep him out for “only” a month or so. Either way, Kirk Cousins should be the starter of the team, regardless of how injured the “face of the franchise” actually is.
Maybe it’s just someone trying to piggy back the “oust Griffin” trend, or it might be a genuine piece of information. Whatever it is, reports are surfacing suggesting that Jay Gruden was preferring Kirk Cousins for his offense the whole time, and this Griffin injury just did him a favor.
A quarterback isn’t an isolated figure. He depends on his receiving crew, his offensive line. Numbers don’t always tell the whole story about how better he’s gotten or how badly he’s fallen. But just by examining Griffin with the eye test, he simply isn’t the quarterback he was during his rookie year. It’s most likely something that has to do with his injuries, but maybe it’s simply about a one-trick pony that the league learned how to handle.
Griffin completed 65.6% of his passes in 2012, averaging 8.1 yards per attempt. He threw just five interceptions (1.2% of his attempts) to 20 touchdowns (5% of his throws). He also ran for 815 yards, averaging 6.8 yards per carry.
In 2013? Big drop, although he wasn’t the only Redskins player to go through a terrible season. He completed just 60.1% of his passes while throwing 12 interceptions (2.6%, more than double) to just 16 touchdown passes (3.5%). His rushing dropped to 5.7 yards per carry. He was still dangerous with the ball, but a lot less. He had 7 rushing touchdowns in 2012, but 0 in 2013.
The talk before this season had to do with Jay Gruden devising an offense that will allow Griffin to stay in the pocket. Not just because he does a good job there, but also because his tendency to get banged up when stepping outside and trying to make things happen with his feet. That’s just how he got injured, although Washington overcame that injury with Kirk Cousins at the helm, destroying the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Beating the Jaguars and impressive cameo appearances here and there don’t make Cousins better. His numbers haven’t been through enough games to seriously compare them through stats. However, when taking away Griffin’s running ability, he’s no longer special behind the offensive line. Even if he is injured for less than the initial fears suggested, when he returns, it might be smarter to keep him on the bench. Unless Cousins blows big time with the big chance given to him, which would make all of this redundant.