Neither RG III nor Cousins is answer for Redskins

John Kosko compares the past grades of Washington QBs Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/David Richard)

(AP Photo/David Richard)

Neither RG III nor Cousins is answer for Redskins

(Note: This article has been updated to reflect the news that Kirk Cousins will be Washington’s Week 1 starter, not Robert Griffin III.)

The proverbial rain cloud that has hovered above Robert Griffin III since shortly after the end of his spectacular rookie season in 2012 is once again getting darker. He was in line to begin this season as the Washington Redskins’ starting quarterback, but following his preseason concussion, and backup Kirk Cousins’ impressive play, it appears as though he’ll be starting the regular season on the bench.

The fact is that whichever of these two QBs earned the starting gig was unlikely to man that role all season long – that’s how inconsistent both have been. Let’s compare the two:

–RG III won the 2012 offensive rookie of the year award in very impressing fashion, ranking as our No. 1 QB in accuracy under pressure and No. 9 in passing grade. However, Griffin has been unable to replicate that success on a consistent basis. While he still possesses impressive accuracy when throwing from a clean pocket, his composure under pressure has taken a hit. After grading at +5.2 under pressure in 2012, RG III has posted back-to-back years worse than -8.9 – those are really bad numbers.

–Cousins has been a curious case himself. Drafted two rounds after RG III, many questioned the move by the Redskins’ brass. When RG III went down with an injury during the closing stretches of 2012, Cousins stepped in and put together two great games, grading at a very impressive +5.0. When Griffin struggled with his consistency in 2013 and then-coach Mike Shanahan infamously benched RG III for health reasons, Cousins flopped — posting four straight games of negative grades.

After Griffin got injured in Week 2 of the 2014 season, Cousins was electric in relief, posting an outstanding +8.2 passing grade. But then he followed up with a -6.9 the very next game, and more poor performances after that, leading to his being benched for Colt McCoy (he wasn’t any good in our grading system, either).

In summary, neither player instills confidence that he can be the long-term answer at the position for Washington. Griffin at least provides hope in terms of his upside, having proven previously that he can perform at an elite level, whereas Cousins has only shown flashes. Cousins has never come close Griffin’s accuracy numbers, and performing well in the preseason, as he has this year, doesn’t equal regular-season success.

That’s why it’s fair to argue that RG III winning the starting job is better for the Redskins, but in all likelihood, if indeed it is Cousins who ends up starting Week 1, he won’t keep the job for the whole season.

| Analyst

John is an analyst for Pro Football Focus and former safety for the University of Kansas Jayhawks (2004–2006).

  • Julie Crenshaw

    Redskins do not have a Franchise QB on their roster yet…. they need to go back to the drawing board and find one……

    • Clarisa Turner

      ì want to guíde you to amazíng online work opportunity.. 3-5 h of work a day.. payment at the end of each week.. performance dependíng bonuses…earnings of six to nine thousand dollars /month – merely few hours of your free time, a computer, most elementary familiarìty wìth www and trusted web-connection is what is needed…learn more by headìng& to my page

    • Four Touchdowns

      Sadly for them, it’s the hardest position to fill. Forget about Tom Brady or Drew Brees — it’s tough for teams to even find a Joe Flacco or Matt Stafford. It will probably be a long time before Washington finds their longterm answer at QB.

  • Tim Willhide

    The Offensive line is to blame for the bad play and the Time Till Pressure Stat Pointed to that in 2013. For some reason PFF Decided not to Post that Stat for 2014

    • DaystarNJO

      It’s a great stat and wish they kept it going.

    • Four Touchdowns

      I’ve watched just about every Redskins game since Griffin was drafted by Washington. While the offensive line certainly has its share of problems, Griffin often does take way too long in the pocket.

      And while that stat sounds helpful, I’ve read that Griffin has taken incorrect drops, which can account for some of that instantaneous pressure — the offensive line’s protection schemes are going to be different for a three step drop and a seven step drop.

      But I agree with the overall premise that Washington just has too many issues for any single player to fix.

  • Daniel Siler

    How did he have a -6.9 rating in the Eagles game?

    • Malachi

      earned it

      • Daniel Siler

        In depth and riveting, Malachi.

  • The Mysteries of Bob

    Over/under 11.5 weeks until Jay Gruden gets fired?

    What a franchise, the Kings are like the Spurs/Patriots compared to the Redskins.

  • Michael David Smith

    This article qualifies as analysis? It’s a summary of events interlaced w/two pairs of corollary statistics.