Robert Griffin III is no longer the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins. Instead, that honor will go to Kirk Cousins, who will start against Miami on Sept. 13.
“Well, if you go by what Jay Gruden said today, it was because he simply outplayed Robert Griffin III,” 106.7 Redskins reporter Brian McNally said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “(He) obviously entered training camp as the starter and had been announced as the starter as far back as the NFL combine in Indy in February, when they first kind of mentioned that to reporters. It turned out, though, in the end it was maybe more of a competition than we thought and Robert didn’t show the development, the improvement, that they needed to see – for whatever reason. And Kirk Cousins played just well enough that he was able to wrestle the job away, and obviously the injury Robert suffered last week kind of helped bring all of this to a head. He’s got a concussion and bizarrely missed the Saturday game against the Ravens. So once that happened, it gave Cousins the opportunity, and Jay Gruden decided to name him the starter.”
Indeed, it was an odd preseason for Griffin, who was concussed against Detroit, cleared to play against Baltimore but then ultimately ruled out.
What exactly happened there?
“So he suffered the concussion on the previous Thursday against the Lions – just a disastrous game for the Redskins where nothing went right for the first-team starters,” McNally said. “Griffin was hit six times on eight pass attempts. He was sacked three times, he fumbled – it was not a professional effort all across the board. The line bears some responsibility there, too, but the coaches placed some blame on Robert. Now he went into the NFL’s concussion protocol and was somehow back on the field about 72 hours later. He obviously felt fine and made it through all the concussion testing that they do over the course of a couple days. He practiced, as you said, the entire week – four or five days. There was one off day in there. But the neurologist . . . rescinded (Griffin’s availability to play). They fond some neurological data that looked suspect to them, and they decided that he was not able to play.
“Once that happened, it kind of changed the course of everything,” McNally continued. “It gave Cousins the chance to play, and it knocked Robert from the lineup. Really, we don’t know when he’ll be back because he’s still got the concussion protocol to go through. He won’t be re-tested until late this week at the earliest, maybe even next week. And that gave Jay Gruden the opportunity to say, ‘Okay, well, I’m going to go with Kirk Cousins here.’”
Then again, Gruden said that Griffin did not lose the job due to injury; rather, he lost it due to performance.
“It turns out that Jay Gruden said Kirk Cousins was going to play with the first-teamers anyway in the Baltimore game, whether Robert was healthy or not,” McNally said. “That came as kind of a surprise to everybody at the press conference today. So that means (that) instead of Robert just playing the full half and the third preseason game – as the starter normally does – he was going to get a couple series and then Kirk was going to get a couple series. So even before the injury, this was all already in motion.”
Whether Griffin takes another snap for the Redskins remains to be seen, but it’s hard to imagine him having success in Washington going forward.
“I think he probably feels a little bit abused,” McNally said. “He certainly can’t be happy about the way this has all gone down. He’s a competitive guy. He wants to play. It feels like he should be playing. It feels like he’s the best quarterback on the team.”