Jay Gruden explains benching of Robert Griffin III

Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden explained his decision to bench Robert Griffin III and replace him with Colt McCoy.

With losses mounting and Griffin III struggling with his accuracy and decision-making, Gruden came to a conclusion that it was time to make a change.

"I'm not putting the blame all on Robert," Gruden said. "It seems like that when you make a change like this at the quarterback position. Robert has done some good things at quarterback, but I just think he needs a little bit more time in this system with the verbiage and the plays to sit back, take a step back and learn, and when he gets back in there he'll be a lot more decisive, hopefully, and ready to roll."

Griffin told reporters: "I'm fine. I'll be strong."

McCoy played well against the Dallas Cowboys. Griffin III will back him up.

"This is a game-by-game league, man," Gruden said. "We're focused in on Indianapolis, and we're going to play with the Colts and see how it goes. I expect Colt to prepare like a pro, I expect Robert to prepare like a pro, and I figure both of them will be ready to play, and they have to be ready to play.

"That's what quarterbacks do, they prepare like they're the starter and when their number is called, they have to go out and produce. And if you don't produce, then you have to maybe take a step back. It doesn't mean you're out of the league forever. It doesn't mean you're out of graces. It means that we're just going to give another guy an opportunity and go from there."

Griffin III was sacekd 20 times in four starts.

"A lot of people are making it out me vs. Robert. It's not at all," Gruden said. "I have a lot of respect for Robert as a quarterback and Robert as a person. We just want him to take a step back, work on his craft a little bit more, study the game a little bit more so the next time he's in there he's raring to go and has a little more faith and confidence in what he sees."

Gruden expressed regret that he didn't go to McCoy sooner.

"If we reversed the clock, obviously knowing what we know now, I'd stick with Colt," Gruden said. "But Robert was our starter all through training camp, all through OTAs, all through preseason. When we got the word he was 100 percent, he looked good in practice, he was the starter. So I have no regrets in that regard."

What does Griffin III need to do to get his job back?

"He's just got to have the confidence and swagger that made him who he is," Gruden said. "That comes with time. It's not easy for these young quarterbacks. Not too long ago, you didn't even think about playing a rookie quarterback until he was three years in, sitting on the bench, and then you bring him in slowly.

"A lot of these young guys have been forced into action. Andrew Luck's the exception. They've had some struggles. It's not going to be perfect all the time. You can't give up on him, we're not giving up to him."

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun

Aaron Wilson
Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post, his second stint at the Post. He has previously written for Pro Football Talk and FOX Sports-Scout. Entering his 13th year covering the Baltimore Ravens, he's a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun. Wilson has also covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.

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