Here's what we know for sure about the Washington Redskins' quarterback situation: Nobody agrees on anything.
In the modern day scenario, there are two broad camps: Those who still believe with loud conviction in Robert Griffin III and those who can't stop shaking their head at the faith exhibited in that first group. There are different factions within those camps, ranging from coach Jay Gruden's choices ruined the prized possession to not comprehending RG3's lack of comprehension reading defenses. Many on both sides just want the entire project blown up from the owner all the way down.
As we approach what some suggest is the biggest game in the career of Robert Griffin III, here is something we should agree on: In the context of RG3's development, drafting Kirk Cousins was a massive mistake.
Many of us suggested this at the time. From an article I wrote in 2012 with the headline "RG3 era begins with confusing quarterback pick" (Admittedly this was more about his rookie season than four years out, but the same principles apply) :
From the moment the Washington Redskins shipped three first-round picks plus a second-round selection to the St. Louis Rams last month, the plan should have been — and in the eyes of the staff, presumably is — to maximize their new asset’s potential.
I am stumped how adding another passer does that.
As always, team comes first and smart organizations draft talent over need, but within reason. In this case, special consideration should have gone to enhancing the new guy with the power arm, dynamic speed and movie star charisma.
Though RG3’s cool vibe might not suggest a player under pressure, he is. By adding Cousins, the Redskins may have unnecessarily turned up the stress level.
Many others laughed and laughed at such talk. Their counter went something like this:•
There would be no controversy because of the major investment made in acquiring Griffin.•
You can never have enough quarterbacks.
Both of those thoughts were unquestionably true.
They were also from a classroom mindset, that kind that views the world as data, but ignores the human element. In this case, it assumed Griffin, coming off a Heisman Trophy-winning season at Baylor and oozing confidence, didn't possess notable insecurities.
We've learned in the subsequent seasons that like many humans, though not all superstar athletes, he does. "All in for Week 1" wasn't just a marketing slogan. As we saw, this became real life as Griffin rehabilitated from a serious knee injury with the hurried pace of a business traveler racing to catch the final flight from Dulles to Denver.
NFL.com's Albert Breer wrote the following in Nov. of 2013.
"Redskins coaches have noticed an insecurity with Griffin this season, and some in the organization believed part of his motivation to quickly return from ACL surgery was driven out of fear that Kirk Cousins would make a run at his job."
Remember, this is coming when Griffin wasn't facing criticism as the reigning NFL Rookie of the Year.
That classroom mentality also viewed Cousins simply as the backup rather than a living, breathing competitor coming off his own successful college career who some thought could have been drafted that year by round two. Wrong. The former Michigan State star was a contemporary with potential.
Overall, nothing has changed, except for Griffin's decline.
Though some confusion remains over last week's concussion diagnosis, Griffin is officially in the clear to face the Ravens Saturday. Let's not dismiss the seriousness of head injuries, ever. However, with the possibility that a strong performance from Cousins could force the hands of those making the final starting decision, did anyone truly believe RG3 wouldn't play this week?
[UPDATE - Some 12 hours later, the Redskins reversed course by announcing RG3 not medically cleared to play Saturday. We won't doubt the sincerity of the diagnosis. What happened between the Lions game and Friday's change, plenty of uncertainty there, including Griffin part. That press conference...][REDSKINS-RAVENS: 5 things to watch]]
Colt McCoy's name wasn't mentioned in the earlier sections for a reason. Simply put, he's no long-term solution. Same goes for almost every journeyman backup. Helpful, but not job threatening.
This applies for a younger, wet-behind-the-ears kid. We're not hearing people around town believe Saturday's preseason game is a make-or-break for Griffin if the alternative is a relative newbie, even a drafted one.
Some contend Cousins remains on the Redskins roster simply because no other team showed interest in trading for him. Talk about laughable.
There are situations where he could at least serve as the backup - again, can't have enough quarterbacks - if not compete for the main job. From a wins and losses standpoint, Cousins hasn't been special. In terms of displaying moldable talent -- strong arm and daring mindset --, ding, ding.
The likely scenario: Washington decided to maintain QB depth over adding a middle-round pick. Considering the position's importance, that's the way to go, which is why the Redskins picked him in the first place.
At the time and still true to this day, QB depth was the wrong priority. It was never wise keeping a true contemporary and potential rival around their biggest investment from the start.
By the way, you're nodding.[FILM REVIEW: Where is this RG3?]