A collective boom was dropped in the Washington DC yesterday when Jay Gruden made the announcement that Kirk Cousins would be the starting QB for the Washington Redskins 2015 season. “It’s Kirk’s team,” Gruden said. This is a far cry from February when Gruden announced that Robert Griffin III would be the starter. So why the change? Let us examine the reasons for the change to Kirk Cousins.
1. Scot McGloughan! The new GM was brought in to change the dynamics of the way the Washington Redskins have been run in recent years. The stepping aside of owner Dan Snyder will make a big difference between winning and losing. If The Redskins can keep this structure going forward there are only good things that can come from it. Danny boy can continue to sign the paychecks but stay out of the football operations.
2. The locker room! We could see, at times, that the locker room was not on the side of RG3. In order to maintain the team and try to build a winner this change was needed. Head Coach Jay Gruden could hear the rumblings coming from the fans and the locker room. Kirk Cousins and, for that matter, Colt McCoy both were producing much better than RG3. That was evident even last season. It was time to man up and make the change in order to keep the peace.
3. RG3 himself. Robert Griffin III was just not making the grade. There was no improvement in the offseason. He was still a one-read QB who has no pocket presence. He does not see the field. He holds the ball too long. He does not throw receivers open. Last but not certainly not least, he is injury prone. He is as fragile as fine china. He would not take the means to protect himself. He was no longer coachable in the eyes of the coaches.
RG3 was also not the consummate teammate. His press conferences were nuclear. He could not take blame for himself. Everything was “we” and there was never an “I.” When you are the QB of a team in the NFL you are the man. You need to be able to take blame for your mistakes and not blame others. You need to be able to recognize and lead. This is something that RG3 failed to do over the past couple of seasons.
4. Jay Gruden! Yes during the hiring press conference Dan Snyder said that Gruden was brought in to work with RG3 and make him into the pocket QB that Robert Griffin III wanted to become. But when you have never been in that style of offense or have never done that type of footwork it takes time and skills. It is the later that RG3 does not have. He is very athletic but he is a system type QB and this is not an RG3 system. Gruden could see this late last year in a game vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Subsequently he could see the same thing against San Francisco as well.
Trying to gain the unified front Jay Gruden named RG3 the starter at the NFL Combine in February. Many believe this was not what Jay Gruden wanted. He, at the very least, wanted an open competition for the starting spot. Many feel that the naming of RG3 came from the top. Gruden ultimately made a decision and went with the guy(s) he feels that can run his offense and produce for this team.
5. Kirk Cousins! The ultimate reason for the change is Kirk Cousins himself. He has been nothing but professional since he was drafted in 2012. He has all the intangibles to be a professional starting QB on the NFL. He is good in pre-snap reads. He sees the field. He is surprisingly mobile. He can make all the throws, mostly because he can throw his receivers open. Kirk Cousins understands how to get rid of the ball, a staple in the Gruden offense.
The knock on Cousins is that he is a turnover machine. This was a problem during his play in 2014. More than the turnovers, in my opinion, was effect they had on his (Cousins’) demeanor. He would hang his head after a turnover and it basically take him mentally out of the game. If he can change this then I see a lot of positives in the move to Cousins.
I wrote back in February that it was mistake naming RG3 the starter. He had not earned it. He was drafted to be the face of this franchise for years to come. However, faces get reconstructed. Changes needed to be made with this franchise. They were losing the confidence of the players and the fans. Step one was the hiring of a GM, step 2; not free spending in free agency, step 3; let the coaches coach and front office handle the football side. Ownership keep promoting and signing the checks.
In closing I would like to thank RG3 for 2012. It was a magical ride that year. I hope the best for you in your future endeavors with whatever team you are with. Your time in a Redskins uniform is now done.