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.
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.
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.
Washington is planning to start Colt McCoy over Robert Griffin III on Sunday at Indianapolis, per a team source.
While Griffin is not a part of Washington's plan for Sunday's game, he still appears to be a significant part of the Redskins' long-term plan, per another source.
Yet right now, Washington is hitting the reset button, though it might not last long, a source cautioned.
McCoy has played a game and a half of football this season, relieving Kirk Cousins in the second half of Week 7 against the Titans. In that game he threw for 128 yards, which included a 70-yard touchdown to Pierre Garcon. He started the following week in Dallas, throwing for 299 yards and an interception, while also rushing for 16 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, the Redskins beat the Cowboys, 20-17. The thing that jumps out about McCoy is his YPA, which is 10.2 on 42 attempts. This is a rather small sample size, but it is an encouraging sign for McCoy backers. The move may be good for DeSean Jackson, who had six catches for 136 yards in McCoy's start against Dallas. Jackson had a nice Week 8 game with Griffin against the Vikings, but only caught six passes for 74 yards combined in the last two games. McCoy doesn't have a bad matchup the rest of the way.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014, 10:17am
Redskins WR Pierre Garçon would rather be catching passes than throwing them. Last year Garçon was targeted 181 times, or more than 11 times per game. This season he has been targeted 68 times, about six times per game. He’s on pace to catch 67 passes this year, a far cry for the team-record 113 he caught in 2013.
It was expected that Garçon would catch fewer passes last year with the addition of DeSean Jackson. But it’s not like he has caught a ton of passes either; Jackson will catch 61 at his current pace.
The Redskins have started three different quarterbacks this year and while all have struggled in various ways, Robert Griffin III has been the least effective of them and he has started the last three games, all losses.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden understands the frustration.
“You get paid to play wide receiver,” he said. “You get paid to catch balls and they’re not catching the balls they’re accustomed to catching. We’ve just got to find out ways to get them the ball. You only have one ball. You hand the ball off to Alfred and throw some quick gains. The backs are involved, the tight ends are involved and over the course of the game, sometimes you don’t get as many as you would like.”
Perhaps the final hope for Garcon owners was the return of RGIII at QB. Garcon's targets had dipped with Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins under center this season, but that increase hasn't taken place since Griffin returned making Garcon not much of a fantasy option with this struggling offense.
Sunday, November 23, 2014, 2:57pm
Redskins Coach Jay Gruden wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Robert Griffin III returning for the upcoming Monday night game at Dallas, but went ahead and named third-string Colt McCoy as Washington’s starter.
“He still has a long way to go,” Gruden said of Griffin during Monday’s press conference. “I wouldn’t rule him out, but he has got a way to go to show that he can play, show that his ankle is 100 percent. That’s the big thing: He has got to be 100 percent ready to go. We don’t want to put him out there at 85 percent, have it be weak and have him do something to it. We want to make sure he’s ready to go when he’s out there.”
Griffin dislocated his left ankle in the first quarter of Washington’s Sept. 14 game against Jacksonville and has been sidelined since. Backup Kirk Cousins stepped in to win that game but lost the subsequent four and was on a downward trajectory Sunday against Tennessee, having turned the ball over twice, when Gruden benched him at halftime in favor of McCoy.
“Right now we’re going to move forward with Colt,” Gruden said. “I’d like to make the decision as soon as we can so we can get the reps. I’m a big rep guy. I want to make sure we get the starter ready to go, so we’re moving forward with the Cowboys with Colt, and Kirk is going to get the reps he gets and he’ll be ready to go if need be. But Colt will be the starter on Monday night.”
The team can't wait until Monday to name a starter just because of preparation, so McCoy gets the nod for now and will take the first team reps. It sounds like RGIII has a way to go and would likely need to get his reps in during the week in order to start on Monday, so that's something to keep an eye on. It's not a great situation, and to make matters worse it's a Monday night game at Dallas against their surprisingly good defense. RGIII is worth a pickup if you're in need of help at the position but probably shouldn't be saved to play on Monday night with too much up in the air at this point.
“You would like to have your decision made as soon as possible,” Gruden said. “Now, you throw Robert into the mix. Robert has a chance to practice on Wednesday and we have to see where he is. See where he is health-wise, and from there I will make a decision from watching the tape of what I’m going to do.”
The story goes on to say that if Griffin can prove to the medical staff and Gruden that he’s ready to return from the dislocated left ankle he sustained in Week 2, Gruden’s decision would be a rather straightforward one. He’s already said Griffin will reclaim his No. 1 status when he’s medically cleared. Griffin worked out on the field prior to Sunday's game, dropping back, eluding an imaginary pass rush, sprinting on bootlegs and firing on-target passes. If Griffin is not cleared to play, the story added, that’s when Gruden will have a tougher choice between Cousins or McCoy. McCoy replaced Cousins at the start of the second half against the Titans after Cousins committed his second turnover of the game and 11th this season. Washington takes on a red-hot Dallas team whose defense has been playing better than expected this season. Since the game is Monday night, things could get tricky if you're planning on playing any of the three.
Redskins HC Jay Gruden had opted to stick with QB Kirk Cousins this week, even after he threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter of last week’s loss at Arizona. He believed that the third-year quarterback needed to continue to work his way through his turnover tendencies, and that eventually he would achieve a breakthrough.
But the problems resurfaced, and when Cousins threw right to linebacker Wesley Woodyard, Gruden had seen enough.
“After the interception, we decided to go with Colt,” Gruden explained. “... I thought after the interception – turning the ball over – we talked about accountability, ball security. That was a standard pass play that we’ve run for a long, long time and he threw it right to him, unfortunately, and I decided to go with Colt in the second half.”
Cousins also fumbled during his time on the field. McCoy finished 11-of-12 for 128 yards and the TD to Pierre Garcon. If you saw the play, you know his final numbers are a bit misleading. Who starts in Week 8 is a bit of a mystery. There has been all kinds of speculation Robert Griffin III will be able to take part in team drills and take the field in Week 8. The Skins play at Dallas on Monday night. It's pretty safe to say when RGIII is ready, the job is his.
Friday, October 10, 2014, 6:13pm
Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle, out) has been ruled out for Week 6. Griffin’s return is “a ways off,” per the Washington Post. This is the Kirk Cousins show for now.
Thursday, October 9, 2014, 6:46pm
Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) was ruled out for Week 6. Griffin’s return is “a ways off,” per the Washington Post. This is the Kirk Cousins show for now.
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