ASHBURN -- The bold decision by the Washington Redskins to name Kirk Cousins starter for the 2015 regular season demands reaction. My take is all over Breaking Burgundy, but we wanted more. In the name of Ron Burgundy, we assembled other members of the BB team plus friends from the D.C. media scene to share their thoughts on the stunning news. Elliott Smith brought the heat column-style with the organization's handling of Robert Griffin III. Among our contributors, he's not alone in thinking the Redskins botched this.
Chris Russell (Breaking Burgundy/106.7): The Redskins have made a move that has long-standing repercussions. By now, you know that Kirk Cousins is the starting quarterback and Jay Gruden says he is planning for that to be for all of 2015. OK, that's great. Just last Thursday, they were planning on Robert Griffin III to be their starter. Now we have this. Three weeks from now, it might be something else.
The good news is that Scot McCloughan and Jay Gruden won their battle. They had very little confidence in their original plan, whether it was forced (likely) or not. I still don't believe that the executive branch of the Redskins management is completely on board. They are allowing the move to happen, but make no mistake, heads could roll if it is a miserable failure.
If Jay Gruden has to pull the plug on Kirk Cousins at some point because of interceptions run wild, Gruden could look very bad. As he did last season. If Colt McCoy replaces Cousins and succeeds, that will stem the tide. If he's a disaster, Gruden could be out of a job.
Here's what I have no choice but to believe: I think Kirk Cousins is the most talented of the two quarterbacks in play. I think McCoy is the best game manager.
The Redskins are built to be a ball-control, game management type offense. It would surprise me if Kirk Cousins plays at a high enough level for 16 games that we don't see McCoy at some point before the season is completely lost.
Frank Hanrahan (Breaking Burgundy/Comcast SportsNet): After all this, what free agent or perspective head coaching candidate would want to work for this organization? If you are drafted by the Redskins, best of luck because after the way they handled Robert Griffin III and his concussion, there is no way in heck you would want to work for this organization unless you are getting an astronomical amount of money. Where is Scot Mcloughan? Where is Bruce Allen on this subject matter of a change at QB? Give us something other than a prepared statement regarding the "concussion?" The whole situation just absolutely wreaks of ineptitude from the top to the bottom of the Redskins organization but that's par for the course. They can't get out of their own way. Good luck to Kirk Cousins.
Kyle Weidie (ESPN's TruthAboutIt.net): Weird is the new normal in the land of burgundy and gold. That is, if normal is a one-armed man without an opposable thumb to his name trying to apply a Band-Aid on a hard-to-reach part of the body when the Band-Aid starts sticking to itself, ruining any chance it will ever have to protect the cut, the scrape, or the quarterback.
I was weary of Robert Griffin III since the beginning – not based on the merits of talent displayed in a Heisman-winning college career or via charted metrics at the pre-draft combine, but rather for the fact that an ever-anxious fan-base was ready to anoint him as Robert God the Third on Day One … and the young QB wholeheartedly embraced such with slogans, hashtags, and manufactured slights.
It seemed fake, contrived, a ruse. We’ve been hoodwinked. And yet, the QB who has seemingly dethroned a never-crowned incumbent for Week 1, 2015 – Kirk Cousins – was ironically drafted 100 spots after the presumed savior in 2012. A contrary notion at the time, but drafting a second QB in 2012’s fourth round after trading up to draft Griffin second overall seems like the least itchy of all the head-scratchers at this point.
Starting Kirk Cousins in Week 1: I’m all in. While knowing that we are far from the end – the end of the controversy, the end of the distraction, the end of a meddlesome owner who always gets away with it despite those damn kids and checks from the media (and in spite of himself). There is no clean or rational way to cut ties with RG3 leading up to or during this season; Cousins or Colt McCoy could easily get hurt or be flat-out terrible. Then what?
The team’s best move in the spirit of acting like it’s ready for a fresh start is making a change under the convenient cover of concussion protocol which is also under a consistent and inconvenient cloud of poor performance from the unfulfilled anointed one. Really, what’s the worst that could happen?
Peter Hailey (Breaking Burgundy): "The move to start Kirk Cousins had to be made; the offense clearly moves better when he's in command. However, I don't see any scenario where Cousins plays well enough to solidify himself as the team's starter beyond 2015 — or even all the way through 2015, for that matter. Cousins is much better than Griffin, but in the grand scheme of things, he's still just average, at least in my eye. Therefore, Redskins fans need to start clogging their internet history with YouTube searches of top college passers like Christian Hackenburg and Connor Cook, because, just four years after seemingly finding a longtime NFL star in Griffin, it's about to be time for the Redskins to try and land that franchise QB in the draft…again."
Pam Chvotkin (Sports production freelancer): My honest take...I am perfectly comfortable with the decision to start Cousins over Robert. The issue goes beyond health. There is a severe lack of communication both externally and internally within the organization. It seems there are disconnections between what is said vs. what is actually going to be executed. It seems that there is a lot of "I don't know's," from doctor miscommunication, general wording on statements and mishandling of certain situations. This falls on a lot of peoples hands, not one individual person, owner, player, etc. Looking forward to seeing Kirk Cousins and the opportunity he's gained from the misstep from the organization. Sometimes, that is what it takes for him to show everyone he can perform. Maybe it isn't. From a media perspective, we aren't concocting drama so we can hang out longer in Ashburn (but, seriously,), just to break stories. As media members, we are required to report what we hear. It's up to the organization to explain statements clearly with as little confusion as possible to the media. If the answer is unknown, it doesn't help - the media and fans are able to speculate, often with negative connotation to sometimes blow minuscule situations into larger ones. I believe there's been a bad combination of several factors contributing to this teams downfall, but the first thing that needs to be fixed? Communication.
T Manuel (Digital Sports Media Analyst/ex-ESPN): If you're reading this site you already know that the Robert Griffin III era in Washington DC has been, for now, shelved for Kirk Cousins era reboot. "This is Kirks' team," as Jay Gruden said in his Monday press conference. This news, while not surprising to most, has elicited the expected passionate responses from fans. Not least of which is "this was the media's fault. They wanted to see RG3 fail!!"
I'll let you in on a little secret...this is exactly what the media wanted. Wait, what? Yes it's true. The media wanted definitive answers, because the fans have that right. The media wanted the QB issue resolved, because there are 50 other players outside the QB position with stories to be unearthed and told. The media wanted to know that a clear path has been set to focus on winning and attempt to leave the drama behind, because nothing is more invigorating than to be in a winning locker room. The media doesn't need to stir up drama, they know the story well never dries up. Especially not in this town. The media wouldn't have cared if Gruden named his cat the starting QB today <<pauses for "Gruden's cat is better than Kirk Cousins" jokes>>. The media is just tired of the misdirection, the hidden agendas, the uncertainty. The media wanted clarity. And today, in making a clear decision, Jay Gruden gave the media exactly what it wanted.