After watching the Washington Redskins lose their first two games of the regular season, head coach Mike Shanahan is surely looking for how to fix what is wrong with the team before it is out of the race for the playoffs. Yes it may seem very early to have that reaction, but when considering that the Redskins will likely have to go 10-4 over their remaining 14 games just to make the playoffs it is easy to see that the organization’s margin for error is very slim. Which brings up the fact that instead of wasting their time waiting for their leader Robert Griffin III to finally return to the form that made him one of the best players in the NFL during the 2012 season, the starting quarterback position needs to be handed over to Kirk Cousins.
Over the first two weeks of the season Griffin has recorded a deceptive stat line of 649 yards passing with a 63 percent completion rate, five touchdowns and three interceptions. On paper these totals would look very impressive, but underlining this is that all five of these touchdown passes have come when the Redskins were down significantly in their games, as in Week 1 Griffin threw three touchdowns after being down 33-7 to the Philadelphia Eagles and in Week 2 he threw three touchdowns after the team was down 31-0 against the Green Bay Packers. In both games the team was in too deep of a hole to recover, and in an offensive driven NFL the blame for this comes down to the quarterback.
Another factor that displays Griffin is not in prime condition and should not be starting games is his near ineffectiveness running the ball, which made him such a threat last season. During the first two weeks of the 2013 season he has rushed for 25 yards combined, whereas he averaged 54.33 yards per game on the ground during the 2012 season and was a threat to run every time he touched the ball. While much of the lack of running yards can be brought down to the Redskins not using the pistol formation, it is being shown right now that without Griffin being a dual threat that he is not really much of a threat at all, and allowing him to rest would allow him to return when he can be a dual threat.
While bringing in Cousins would not bring in a dual threat, it would bring a player that has a defined role as a passer and has been successful at doing this successfully in the past. During the 2012 season Cousins threw for 466 yards, four touchdowns and had a 68.8 percent completion rate over the three games he played in. This came during a rookie season when nobody, likely not even Cousins himself, expected him to play, and it can be expected that he will perform at least close to these levels if given a chance during the 2013 season.
In the end taking Griffin out of the starting quarterback role would surely be one of the most unpopular moves that Shanahan would have ever made during his long and historic coaching career, but it could just happen to be the best one he ever made as well for Griffin and the team. Allowing Griffin to fully heal his knee and come back ready to be the dual threat that he has to be in order to be a top level quarterback in the NFL would be helpful for his long term progress. Meanwhile the Redskins would have a quarterback that they know what to expect from, and while he may not be a dominant presence he could be expected to be consistent enough to guide the team back into playoff contention.