Well, it’s official.
Kirk Cousins – and not Robert Griffin III – will start at quarterback when the Washington Redskins open the season at home against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 13.
“I was surprised they came out and made that decision, especially at this point in the preseason,” former Redskin and current CBS Sports NFL analyst London Fletcher said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “(I thought they would give) Robert the chance to start the season off and play four or five games (and see how he performed). I was as surprised as everyone else for the Redskins to make this announcement.”
Washington head coach Jay Gruden didn’t hold back during the announcement, either. He said that Griffin was demoted due to performance, not injury, and that the Redskins are “Kirk’s team.”
“It’s amazing it’s come to this point,” Fletcher said. “Back in February at the combine, Gruden came out and said Griffin would be the starter Week 1. And then throughout training camp (and) preseason games, Robert had a decent game against Cleveland, took some hits in the Detroit game and didn’t get a chance to play this last game against Baltimore. So between February and today, I guess they didn’t like what they saw – whether it was in preseason or training camp or things like that. But obviously Robert was facing an uphill battle so to speak in terms of resistance. (Gruden) may have wanted a certain style quarterback, maybe liked Kirk a little bit more, so (Griffin) was going to have to go out and play lights out and really how some improvement as a drop-back quarterback.”
Griffin’s injury history has been well-documented. So have his struggles from the pocket. But has Cousins really been that much better than Griffin in the preseason?
“I think Kirk had more opportunities to throw the football, first and foremost,” Fletcher said. “I mean, was it glaring to say Kirk should definitely be the starting quarterback? I wouldn’t say that. Again, you got to take it for what it’s worth. It’s preseason. Your starters (don’t play much). So I think it was a situation where Jay just preferred Kirk to be his quarterback anyway, and obviously with Robert not going out there and totally lighting it up . . . I think Jay just wanted to have Kirk as the quarterback.”
Owner Dan Snyder may not feel the same way, but Gruden seems convinced that Griffin isn’t The Guy – or at least can’t be any time soon.
Hopefully for Gruden’s sake, his boss is okay with that.
“(Snyder) wants to win first and foremost,” Fletcher said. “Obviously when you give as much away as you gave to get Robert, you want to make sure that you do everything you can to help him succeed. When Gruden was brought in there, the thing that they talked about him doing was transforming Robert into more of a drop-back quarterback. With that being said, I think you still need to allow him to do some of the things that he did that made him be successful, which is run some of the zone-read, move the pocket and things like that. So for Mr. Sndyer, I think it was, ‘Hey, Jay, we want you to give Robert the best chance.’ But the coaching staff, and Jay in particular, felt like Kirk gave them the best chance to win right now.”