Sunday, September 6, 2015

Cousins, McCoy & RGIII: The QB clusterf*** in Washington

There's really nothing else to call the Washington Redskins' quarterback situation, but a clusterf***.

Let's put it this way: It's pretty bad when friends and acquaintances here in northern Ohio say they feel bad for how bad things are in Washington. To put that empathy into perspective, the Cleveland Browns have had 20 starting QBs since coming back into the NFL in 1999 (with No. 21 coming up with Josh McCown) — and the 'Skins can't be too far behind in that same time frame.

Since the topic of RGIII has come up almost more times than I could count since preseason started, I've decided it's time to put some thoughts down here on Cary's Comics Craze.

(My CCC readers should know that when the NFL season rolls around, I often take a break from writing op-eds about the cape-and-cowl crowd to rant about my Deadskins. And I haven't forgotten about my series on the "definitive takes on my favorite comic book characters" [i.e. superheroes and superhero groups from DC and Marvel]; I plan to wrap it up next week.) 

The first big question I have posed to me is a request on what I think of Robert Griffin III's future in Washington. Soon after that, comes the following question: What do you think of Kirk Cousins being the starter Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins — and possibly the entire season — and RGIII being demoted to third string?

Well, in short, if I were in charge of Washington's QB depth chart, it would look a lot different than QB coach Matt Cavanaugh's.

First of all, Colt McCoy would be my starter. Cousins would be his backup and RGIII would be my third-stringer — if he'd even be on the team at this point. More on that later, but here's my breakdown on each quarterback:

McCoy: To put it simply, I have more faith in McCoy than I do the other QBs. He simply gives me more confidence to win a game than Cousins or RGIII.

McCoy might not have as strong of a passing arm as Cousins, but he has something I haven't seen from Cousins: Huddle and game presence. At least not on a regular basis.

Now granted, the only time I've seen the 'Skins in action was watching preseason game No. 1 against the Browns, but McCoy — at least in his time in Washington — gives me the impression he doesn't get as flustered as Cousins or Griffin. If he throws an interception, he shakes it off, moves on and returns to the game without being shaken.

Also, McCoy impresses me with his ability to scramble. Unlike RGIII, he has great instinct at knowing how to take a hit or slide when he runs. Pardon the pun, but throw in McCoy's sharp passing and his ability to zing the football into his receivers and I really enjoy what he offers.

Cousins: Wide receiver Pierre Garcon may have praised Cousins as "a natural born leader" and say "he commands the huddle," but for my money, McCoy has shown more in-game confidence.
Colt McCoy

When I see that McCoy is my QB, I feel like the 'Skins actually have a chance to win a game. With Cousins, I just pray he doesn't throw an interception — and then hope he doesn't throw another pick just after that. When Cousins throws a pick, it seems to throw off his mojo and shoots his confidence.

Statistics don't lie: Cousins had the highest interception rate in 2014. He also had the third-highest interception rate in 2013 among all quarterbacks in each year who threw 150-plus passes.

Cousins has a great arm, but he doesn't fill me with a lot of hope to win games.

Kirk Cousins
Everybody — at least here in northern Ohio — points to Cousins' impressive first career NFL start in the Dec. 16, 2012 win against the Browns (a game I had the pleasure of seeing firsthand) as proof that Cousins has what it takes to be a great starter.

But I quickly come back with the assertion that Cousins is suited to be a great backup QB and doesn't have what it takes to be an effective NFL starter.

Cousins always puts up impressive stats in preseason and manages to run in a few TDs off quarterback keepers. During the regular season, he's impressive coming off the bench (check out the details on his accurate Wikipedia page), but he hasn't won me over when it comes to being the No. 1 guy in Washington.

In the end, what has Cousins done for me lately? Not enough; let him win the opener and quite a more games this season and I might consider being on Team Cousins.

Robert Griffin III
And finally, that brings me to RGIII: Let me be clear, I have no problem benching Griffin. Now or in 2014.

I didn't mind benching RGIII in November 2014 just after McCoy led the 'Skins to an impressive overtime victory over the dreaded Dallas Cowgirls, uh, Cowboys. 

As I said here on CCC: "I think it would have been smarter for head coach Jay Gruden to start McCoy against Minnesota in Week 9 (of 2014) instead of giving Griffin his job back. … Since the Redskins don't have the greatest record following a bye week, why didn't Gruden give McCoy the chance to start versus Minnesota? Had McCoy started, I firmly believe the 'Skins would have come out with a victory over the Vikings and given Washington much-needed momentum heading into the bye week."

With a team like Washington which has a recent history of instability at QB, going with the hot hand is key.

Let me be straight: Griffin hasn't had the hot hand since his jaw-dropping rookie year.

Robert Griffin III looks for an open receiver Aug. 20 against the Detroit Lions.
Photo by Geoff Burke/USA TODAY
With the concussion he sustained Aug. 20 in week 3 of the preseason against the Detroit Lions, RGIII has confirmed he's as injury prone as everybody has suspected he was in his second and third years.

Being an injury liability combined with his reputation for thinking his s*** don't stink and the belief that Griffin can't learn from his own mistakes (on-field or off!) — not to mention the ongoing rumors that his teammates don't have his back or even respect him — and there's just not much confidence in No. 10.

I wouldn't have been surprised if the Redskins had cut Griffin before the season started; it certainly would be the easiest way to get rid of, or at the very least, dampen the QB drama surrounding the Redskins. That being said, I wouldn't bet against Washington cutting RGIII next season, in the offseason or if the 'Skins get a great offer, this season even.

But despite it all, RGIII made Washington's 53-man roster.

Ultimately, I've been doing my best to be supportive of Griffin and find ways he could improve his game. But my concerns from November 2014 remain the same:
Photo by Toni L. Sandys/THE WASHINGTON POST

  • I'm not sure RGIII ever committed to the pass-first/run-second mentality he needs in Gruden's offense;
  • Griffin has waaaaay too many injuries
  • and third, RGIII must be too much in his own head to overcome it all — something I've said since his second year in the NFL.

What's the point in having all the talent in the world if you're injured too often to do anything with it? And in a win-now league, no coach, front office or fan will put up with a QB with top-tier skills who hasn't been winning many games and doesn't has the confidence of his team, much less fans.

Unfortunately, RGIII doesn't have much trade value. So why trade when Washington won't get much in return?

So, the 'Skins are stuck with Griffin. Since he's essentially a liability on the field, he's less of one sitting on the bench and wearing a headset.

But I'm sure there will be more QB drama; we just can't seem to keep away from it in Washington. 

Some NFL teams give their eye teeth to have one quarterback with as much talent as any of Washington's three QBs (Cough! Cough! — Cleveland!), but there's no clear front runner to be the field general. So let's face it, all that means is it's a clusterfuck, as far as I'm concerned.

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