Be Careful What You Wish For, Jay Gruden
Every football fan, and even some who aren't, must be aware of the dysfunction that is the Washington D.C. football franchise. Just recently, the Redskins added to their laundry list of drama by promoting Kirk Cousins to starting QB for the 2015 season and by relegating their once savior, QB Robert Griffin III, to the bench.
While in the moment the move seems to have not split the locker room, the move does seem to have split the fan base. Many Skins fans are completely ready to set up shop in Camp Kirk, announce RGIII DOA for the 2015 season and move on to a new face that could possibly be the answer at quarterback.
Others in Camp Griffin recognize his talent and the circumstances he has faced with a mediocre offensive line and hesitate to give up on the man who set the league on fire in his rookie season.
For now, we can only speculate on what the result of this move will be, but I suspect, that as with most things, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. In the short term, Kirk Cousins may in fact be a better choice for the Redskins at quarterback; he seems to have grasped Gruden's system more quicker and more successfully than Griffin.
However, Cousins was a 4th round pick for a reason. He can be a solid piece on a good team, but without a lot of help, his low to middle ceiling will not likely ever lead Washington to the promise land, especially when the team currently lacks top talent at many key positions.
Griffin, on the other hand, is probably not done. After he and the Skins inevitably part ways, I can very easily see him being relatively successful in a different scheme that capitalizes more off of his unique and impressive skill set.
Nonetheless, his fundamental deficiencies as a quarterback and the multitude of injuries he has faced will probably cause him to fall short of the high ceiling anticipated when coming into the league.
With all that said, I'm neither a wizard nor an oracle and I certainly don't have all the answers. All we can do is look from today and see whether Jay Gruden seems to be making a smart move or not.
And when you look at the numbers they are anything but conclusive.
|Player||Games Played||QBR||Pass Attempts per Turnover|
|Robert Griffin II||2012: 15|
|Kirk Cousins||2012: 3|
|Colt McCoy||2014: 5||2014: 46.9||2014: 18.3|
I didn't pick these two stats to prove my point; I chose them because when I think about quarterback play these are two of the stats that I think matter most when looking at success. QBR looks at how well the QB played overall. This includes turnovers, touchdowns, yards gained, and the situations under which all of these are done. Besides that, I consider turnovers by themselves to be the crucial stat.
When looking at QBR, RGIII outperformed Cousins and McCoy in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 he took a major step back, there is no denying that. However, when you consider the injury he faced early in the season which stunted his development in a system that he was less suited for than the other quarterbacks the difference can almost be wholly explained away. When you step back and look at the whole picture by focusing solely on career QBR, RGIII has the edge.
When looking at turnovers, RGIII has a decisive edge and one of the worst things a QB can do is turn over the ball. Although RGIII appears to have become more careless with the football as the years progress, he has done extremely well in this area over the course of his career, compared to the likes of Kirk Cousins.
Considering that the Redskins want to be a run heavy team anyway this year, it will be even more crucial than ever for the Skins QB to avoid turnovers as they will have less opportunities to make up for these costly mistakes.
These two stats give just a taste of the total discussion surrounding the Redskins' QB controversy. But, they do at least demonstrate that Skins fans who believe that Gruden is making the best decision for the team may need to wait a little bit longer before declaring that as fact.