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The 2-4 Washington Redskins take on the 2-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in a match-up featuring two of the most interception-prone starting quarterbacks in the NFL.
But let’s ignore Jameis Winston for the time being – he is only a rookie, after all.
Redskins backup turned starter Kirk Cousins remains the starting quarterback in Jay Gruden’s offense despite eight interceptions through six games. Robert Griffin III – the former offensive rookie of the year – remains the third-string option, behind both Cousins and Colt McCoy.
Griffin has struggled over the past two seasons, which is what led Gruden to opt for Cousins. But when you look at Griffin’s numbers from last season (the year in which he was benched) and Cousins’ from this season, you’ll notice that Griffin has actually been more productive.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Cousins (through six games): 151-228 (66.2%); 1420 yards (6.2 yards per throw); 6 TDs/8 INT; 77.4 passer rating.Griffin (through nine games): 147-214 (68.7%); 1694 yards (7.9 yards per throw); 4 TDs/6 INT; 86.9 passer rating.
Note that Griffin, through three more games, threw fewer passes than Cousins has already thrown this season. This can be interpreted in one of two ways. Either Griffin held on to the ball too long (and he was sacked 33 times), or Gruden didn’t trust him enough to call as many passing plays. Conversely, that Cousins has already thrown 14 more passes than Griffin did last year isn’t necessarily a positive; after all, he’s already thrown eight interceptions and the Redskins are now 0-10 when Cousins has thrown multiple picks.
Gruden, for what it’s worth, has been noticeably less harsh when talking about Cousins’ struggles than he was last season with Griffin. Just earlier this week, the Washington head coach was quick to blame the wind for one of Cousins’ interceptions, whereas last year, after a multi-interception game from Griffin, Gruden bashed him in a press conference, saying frankly, “Robert has some fundamental flaws.”
- Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Gruden also maintains that Cousins will continue to be the team’s starter going forward, despite the fact Cousins is showing absolutely no sign of improvement.
So at what point will Gruden consider benching Cousins and giving Griffin – or even McCoy- a shot?
Robert Griffin is due $16.2 million next season. That’s a lot of money to spend for a third-string quarterback who occasionally moonlights as a scout-team safety. As the numbers show, Griffin certainly can’t be any worse than Cousins.
If the Redskins are not going to use Griffin, it is time to set him free and end this entire debacle for good.