Despite suffering a concussion in his preseason game against the Lions, Robert Griffin III was back on the practice field earlier this week, prepping for an important third preseason game against the Ravens.
After being underwhelming so far this offseason, and frankly ever since his rookie season, this matchup against the Ravens was becoming increasingly important to his long-term future in Washington. If he continued to struggle, especially into the regular season, it would make it easier for the coaching staff to see what they have in Kirk Cousins, who has been as popular as a backup quarterback could be to the fans in the city.
In a surprising twist, today an independent neurologist Robert N. Kurtzke disagreed with the decision that Griffin was ready to play, and instead recommended that he be held out of this weekend’s preseason action, according to Lindsay Murphy Guyer of Fox (via Twitter).
This reversal was followed with a storm of speculation and discussion surrounding the status of Griffin in Washington. There had already been rumors of him alienating teammates, not getting along with his offensive linemen, and clashing with his coaching staff.
This might not be a big deal elsewhere, other than that a starting quarterback was missing preseason action, but it is magnified in Washington because of the path Griffin’s career has taken. Cousins has pushed Griffin in the past, and despite a poor track record of individual success as a starter, often seems like the best alternative on the team.
If Griffin indeed misses the rest of the preseason, he will be starting Week 1 coming off two weeks of inconsistent play followed by two weeks of inactivity. That alone could be enough for head coach Jay Gruden to push Cousins into the starting lineup. Even if Griffin starts, his leash might have shortened due to this most recent injury, even if it isn’t his fault. The drama seems to follow him, and owner Daniel Snyder can’t protect him forever.
Griffin is still the starter for the beginning of the season until something changes, but Cousins will get an opportunity to work with the starters for an extended period of time and likely one or both of the remaining preseason games. Griffin’s job wasn’t secure to begin with, and this only shakes things up even more.
At this juncture, Griffin’s future in Washington looks even more bleak. Beyond 2015, it was questionable whether the team would stay with him without a bounce back year. Now, even his status for 2015 is in doubt. Without valuable preseason reps, Cousins is closer than ever to winning the starting job outright, and Griffin’s injury history suggests Cousins will start eventually anyway.
The question is, whether by coach’s decision or by injury, who will start more games at quarterback in Washington this season? Cast your vote in the poll and feel free to weigh in below in the comments section to explain your reasoning.