It is becoming apparent that the No. 2 quarterback in Washington will have a good shot at becoming No. 1 at some point during the season.
It’s not too much of a stretch to concoct a doom and gloom scenario for Robert Griffin III. Watching him on Thursday against the Lions and throughout his career since 2013, it seems almost inevitable that his season will be interrupted by either injury or ineffectiveness. That means that the winner of the competition for the No. 2 quarterback job is likely to start some regular season games and perhaps sooner rather than later.
So who is the leader in that competition between Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy? Jay Gruden said during training camp that performance in preseason games would be the primary determining factor. If there is a leader in the battle, Gruden has not tipped his hand to reveal which one it is.
“They’re doing extremely well,” said Gruden of the play of the two backups during the preseason.
The story went on to say throughout OTAs, minicamp and training camp, Cousins and McCoy have split the work with the second and third teams about as evenly as you can. Cousins has completed 77 percent of his passes averaging 9.4 yards per attempt while McCoy is completing passes at a 75 percent clip and also averaging 9.4 yards per pass. Both have been behind center for seven drives. Cousins has had better results, with the team scoring three touchdowns and a field goal with him in the game while McCoy’s possessions have resulted in two touchdowns, the story all said. As you can see, things are pretty close. It's a situation to pay attention to especially if you play in deeper leagues or leagues that start two QBs.
On first down from the Washington 20, he took a handoff from Colt McCoy and headed up the middle. In the hole he planted, made a slight change of direction and quickly rolled into the second level. About 12 yards downfield a defensive back flew in to try to make the tackle but Jones made a move and dodged him. He kept heading north until he was brought down after a gain of 24 yards.
Jones finished the game leading the team in rushing with 52 yards on 10 carries. He blasted his way into the end zone from a yard out. His head coach was impressed.
“Matt Jones continues to hit the hole the way we want him to—hard,” Jay Gruden said after the game. “He gets through the second level, he’s a problem.”
At 6-2, 231 Jones can be a big problem. He is doing what Scot McCloughan hoped he would do when he drafted Jones out of Florida in the third round. There were plenty of skeptics among draft analysts when they turned in the card with his name on it as the 95th overall pick last May. The instant conventional wisdom was that the third round was way too high to take Jones, who wasn’t even the Gators’ full-time running back. After Thursday, many of them are singing a different tune, the story said. Jones has the ability to take over for Roy Helu as the team's third down back, but reports all summer say Jones is also a hard, physical runner. For now, Alfred Morris is expected to get a bulk of the work, but Jones is certainly getting noticed so far in camp.
The Redskins’ ranked 19th in the NFL in yards gained last year and their 4.2 yards per carry ranked 15th. That’s not good enough for a team that is as unsettled as the Redskins are at quarterback. Whether it’s Robert Griffin III behind center or Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy, the QB will benefit greatly from a running game that is better than something right around the league average.
So there will be changes in way they do things. One is a more power-oriented ground game. The other may be some form of running back by committee.
“The running game nowadays, you need to have a couple of guys that can tote it,” Jay Gruden told Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro on ESPN 980 earlier this week. “Sixteen games is a long time, that’s a lot of games, a lot of carries, that’s a lot of hits on these running backs.”
Gruden said that he would like to split up the carries more than he did last year, when he went with what was mostly a one-back attack. Alfred Morris had 265 rushing attempts. The other tailbacks on the roster, Roy Helu, Silas Redd, and Chris Thompson, combined for 59 rushing attempts. That is 82 percent of the carries for Morris, 18 percent for the rest.
Most backs come into the NFL with some innate ability to run the football. But it’s learning to do the other necessary, less glamorous work that separates an NFL running back from a guy who can find a hole and pick up some yards.
The story went on to say in his three years as the offensive coordinator with the Bengals, Gruden spread the workload in different ways in different seasons. In 2012 he had BenJarvus Green-Ellis take 80 percent of the tailback rushing attempts. But in 2011 it was a 70-30 split between Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott. And in 2013 Cincinnati drafted Giovani Bernard and gave him 170 carries to 220 for Green-Ellis (that’s a 56-44 split in percentage terms). The story also added the roster can often dictate who gets the carries, and Gruden, in the interview, added that Morris would get the bulk of carries with Matt Jones, Chris Thompson and Silas Redd getting chances to get the carries Morris won't get. However, the story continued to say if Gruden can find another running back or two, it could be more of a running back by committee approach than we have seen with this team in the past.
“The more he gets around our terminology and understands it and learns it and can see it against different coverages, the better he is going to be,” Gruden said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “And he has shown improvement in the OTAs, which is exciting.”
“All three quarterbacks have [shown improvement],” Gruden continued, referring to backups Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins. “Colt’s done a good job. So has Kirk. But Robert, especially, has taken over the leadership role and done some good things. He’s just got to continue improve. And we’ve got to be patient with him. There are going to be some bumps and bruises along the way, but I think we’ll be okay as long as we stay patient.”
RG3 averaged 12.0 fantasy points in the six games that he started and finished in 2014. That's what Blake Bortles averaged as the league's #24 fantasy quarterback. We know Griffin is capable of more, but he hasn't been the same player since his rookie season. Specifically, he's not running the ball as often or as effectively. The team has a nice receiving corps and a strong running game, so there is upside here.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 12:49pm
Robert Griffin III did not do enough to warrant heading into the offseason with the Washington Redskins' starting quarterback job. You can say the same thing about Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy as well. Which is why head coach Jay Gruden said in his season-ending press conference that, as of now, there’s a competition for the starting job.
That’s how it should be given the lack of success by all three passers.
“I’d like to pick one as soon as I could so we could try to work and grind on him and develop him,” Gruden said. “But until that position is earned, you have to have a competition. I anticipate us having a competition at a lot of spots, and quarterback is no different next year.”
The big disappointment is that Griffin did not emerge as the starter considering what the Redskins surrendered for him. Also, the expectation was that he’d improve given a full offseason and one year further removed from his knee surgery. Dislocating his left ankle and missing five games did not help. But even before the injury, there were concerns among the coaching staff about his (lack of) development, the story said. It would also seem to mean Cousins will stick around for a bit. He recently said he wanted to be traded if there wasn't at least a competition for the starting QB job.
The third-year quarterback said Monday that if Robert Griffin III is named the starter during the offseason he'll ask for a trade, per NBC Washington's Diana Russini.
"Isn't it obvious I couldn't stay here?" Cousins told Russini.
Cousins started five games this season after RGIII was injured before being replaced by Colt McCoy. In his six appearances this year, Cousins completed 61.8 percent of his 204 passing attempts for 1,710 yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He lost four straight starts before being replaced at halftime of Week 7.
Cousins explained that if there is no quarterback competition, there is no point to staying in Washington, the story went on to say. The signal caller added that he would approach the season as 16 games until free agency if RGIII is made the starter. There are plenty of teams who could be looking for help at the QB position for 2015: Buffalo, NY Jets, Houston, Tennessee, Chicago and Tampa Bay are among them.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden announced Tuesday that the neck injury that knocked Colt McCoy out of last Sunday’s loss to the Giants won’t heal in time for him to play in the final two games of the season and that he’ll be placed on injured reserve as a result.
Redskins QB Colt McCoy was taken to the locker room after his first series in Sunday's game against the Giants. McCoy, who was questionable because of an aggravated nerve in his neck, was hit hard at the end of a scramble on Washington's opening possession.
Robert Griffin III took over in place of McCoy. RGIII completed 18-of-27 passes for 236 yards and one touchdown Sunday, but it wasn't enough. After the game, coach Jay Gruden said he's not sure who will start against the Eagles on Saturday, according to the story. The article went on to say before naming a starter, Gruden said he wants to watch the film and learn more about the extent of starter Colt McCoy's injury. He wants to see how badly McCoy aggravated the neck injury that caused him to leave the game after the first series.
Friday, December 12, 2014, 6:26pm
Redskins QB Colt McCoy (neck, questionable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is questionable for Week 15. McCoy will start against the Giants.
Thursday, December 11, 2014, 6:32pm
Redskins QB Colt McCoy (neck) took limited practice reps again Thursday. McCoy’s status is unknown but the limited participation is encouraging. He’s expected to start if healthy this week.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 6:25pm
Redskins QB Colt McCoy (neck) took limited practice reps Wednesday. McCoy’s status is unknown but the limited participation is encouraging. He’s expected to start if healthy this week.
The neck injury that knocked Colt McCoy out of the final two minutes of Sunday’s loss to the St. Louis Rams is not believed to be serious, and the possibility remains that the quarterback could play this week, a person with knowledge of the situation said Tuesday morning.
The test results revealed no structural damage. But McCoy’s availability will hinge largely on how quickly the soreness in his neck subsides, and how quickly he regains full range of motion, the story said. The piece added that Washington's coaching staff isn’t expected to have a full idea of whether or not McCoy can or will start until later in the week. At this point, Robert Griffin III or Kirk Cousins could start if McCoy can't go. The Skins play the Giants in Week 15.
Kirk Cousins has been the Redskins’ third-string quarterback ever since Week 9. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to stay there.
The Redskins’ quarterback situation has been in flux ever since Robert Griffin III suffered a dislocated ankle early in the team’s second game of the season. It is now as up in the air as it has been all year and Cousins could have a seat at the table.
Colt McCoy, who has risen from third string to starter over the course of the year, suffered a sprained neck late in Redskins’ 24-0 loss to the Rams. Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that Griffin should get the start on Sunday against the Giants if McCoy can’t go.
However, Gruden was not firm about anything involving the quarterbacks and he didn’t rule out Cousins getting another shot at some point during the last three games.
“I could see myself playing with Kirk, no doubt about it.,” said Gruden. “I like Kirk, I think he did some good things when he was in there. Obviously turnovers and third downs have really plagued us pretty hard.”
The Skins QB situation is a bit of a mess. Reports Sunday said it would depend on McCoy's health, and that he would start if possible. Washington actually has some decent matchups starting with the Giants in Week 15, then the Eagles followed by the Cowboys, but just about any Redskin comes with risk in the fantasy playoff season.
McCoy was in pain and was in a hurry to get to a hospital for further evaluation. It was a rough day for McCoy, who was sacked six times and threw two interceptions. McCoy left with two minutes remaining because of the injury, replaced by Robert Griffin III.
The story added that Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he wasn’t sure who his starting quarterback would be, but that mostly has to do with McCoy’s health. But Gruden also said he would review the tape of McCoy’s game to see if a change is warranted. Robert Griffin III could possibly get the start again if McCoy can't go in Week 15.
- Page 1