Since he was hired as head coach of the Washington Redskins, Jay Gruden has remained committed to Robert Griffin III — at least publicly. Despite reports from training camp about New England Patriots officials saying Kirk Cousins looked like the best quarterback at Redskins training camp, Cousins never stood a chance at starting. He does now, and you have to wonder if Washington is better off for it.
After Griffin suffered an ankle injury on Sunday that could keep him out for a significant period of time, Cousins took over and completed 22 of 33 passes for 250 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. According to Mike Wise of the Washington Post, Gruden has believed Cousins is a better fit for his offense all along.
[WATCH: The play where RG3 injured his ankle]
Wise reports that RG3 has had trouble picking up Gruden’s offense, but Gruden knew starting Cousins would create major issues within the Redskins organization. The first-year head coach has been committed to helping Griffin become a better pocket passer, though he has reportedly questioned privately if RG3 is the right man to lead the team over the long term.
Early indications are that Griffin suffered a dislocated ankle and could miss anywhere from a month to the remainder of the season. While Wise was quick to point out that he in no way believes Gruden was rooting for an injury, he did ask a longtime team employee if he had ever seen a team look so happy after its franchise quarterback and top offseason acquisition (DeSean Jackson also left with an injury) had to leave the game.
“No,” the employee told Wise, choosing not to elaborate.
The Redskins did win 41-10, so that’s probably why they were in high spirits. Gruden said he was “sick” over the RG3 injury but expressed full confidence in Cousins.
“I feel like we can win any game with Kirk Cousins … Kirk is a special guy,” he said. “He started four games last year and didn’t have great success, but obviously has a skill set that I feel like is very much suited for what we do. He can handle it mentally, and obviously, physically. I feel that he can make every throw in the book and we are going to move forward with Kirk.”
Again, no one is accusing anyone of rooting for injuries. That said, you can’t ignore the fact that it will be interesting to see how Gruden’s offense operates with Cousins running it instead of RG3. If Cousins plays like he did Sunday going forward, a quarterback controversy is not out of the question.