Another twist in the saga of Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins, as the heavily criticized quarterback is probably going to be benched again in favor of Colt McCoy, which might mean that the franchise is planning to move on from a quarterback they invested so heavily in less than three years ago.
Last week’s criticism from Jay Gruden probably was an excellent sign that if the Redskins are planning to carry on with Gruden as their head coach, and despite the 3-8 start we’ve seen no indication that he’s actually on the hot seat, it might mean that Griffin, the darling of the owner and until not too recently on very good terms with him, could be on his way to play for another team, with one more year left on his rookie contract.
The gripe against Griffin isn’t just the injuries – it’s that he’s actually regressed as a player and a quarterback. In 2012, he wasn’t just the best rookie – he was one of the best quarterbacks in the league, throwing just five interceptions, completing 65.6% of his passes and running for 815 yards. Then came the regular season injury and the playoff one. His relationship with Mike Shanahan was never really good, and things got ugly in 2013.
Griffin played in 13 games last season, trying to recapture the magic of the rookie season. He wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t very good either. It had something to do with the declining quality of players around him, but also with himself. He threw just 16 touchdown passes but also 12 interceptions. The running almost disappeared, gaining just 489 yards on the ground. Shanahan was gone, but also the magic of the rookie season.
Things haven’t worked out for Griffin this season either. An injury right out of the gate, and looking bad since coming back. The Redskins haven’t won with him, and although he’s completing almost 70% of his passes in the five games he’s played this season, he has more interceptions than touchdown passes and his running has become a non-existent threat, going off only five times, gaining 22 yards. The poise and ability to surprise from his rookie season is long gone, and might never be coming back.
The Kirk Cousins experiment imploded in interceptions, sacks and a lot of losses. Colt McCoy, a career backup, carried the Redskins to two victories: One against the lowly Titans and another in Dallas against the Cowboys. He didn’t toss touchdowns and bombs left and right, but he completed 85.7% of his passes and simply looked a lot more comfortable in the system Gruden has installed, something Griffin isn’t really fitting in.
Before the question of where Griffin goes comes up, it’s about what does this benching mean. The Redskins haven’t announced that they’re moving on from someone they traded their future for in 2012, but this isn’t a benching because of an injury or fear of him getting injured. There’s nothing really to play for this season, and McCoy, like most backups, in the long run really isn’t an option to rely on. And yet Gruden might actually think that Griffin isn’t even good enough to start over these guys at the moment.
There hasn’t been an official word on the switch, but it seems to be in the making. Not just sources, but the overall look of the team with Griffin, who has been sacked 16 times this season, looking almost like someone out of this sport when he’s forced to play from inside the pocket. It’s still too soon to call it a wrap on Griffin’s time with the Redskins or his NFL career, but this season isn’t leading to a very good place.