Washington’s head coach Jay Gruden has decided to start backup Colt McCoy over Robert Griffin III this weekend against the Colts, leading to increased speculation about whether or not RGIII has a future with the team. Griffin’s play over the past few weeks since returning from a dislocating ankle has been frustrating at best.
Still, despite his performance, the fan base and Washington media has seemed desperate to replace Griffin since last season. The team spent the offseason hearing that Gruden preferred Kirk Cousins over Griffin, with many fans and media personalities believing Cousins could prove to be the better option.
The unrest only swelled after Griffin went down early in a game against the Jaguars in Week 2, where Cousins came in and had a huge day, leading to a 41-10 victory that serves as one of the few bright spots of the season.
Cousins was lauded for his talent, and Griffin was all but written off as injury prone and underwhelming, before Cousins quickly played his way out of the lineup with a horrible stretch of quarterback play. McCoy then took over the role of quarterback savior after beating the Cowboys on Monday Night Football.
Griffin’s return to the lineup once again produced poor results, and with McCoy taking over as the starter once again, Griffin’s future with the team is now in doubt. Many have considered that Washington would seek to trade him this offseason, or move on from him altogether by simply releasing him.
The rift between Griffin and Gruden does not necessarily mark the end for the pairing. Gruden says this most recent benching will have no influence on the long-term plan at quarterback, but that he is just looking to play the best quarterback for this game, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post (via Twitter).
Griffin’s time on the bench could last just one game, or go through the end of the season. Either way, Griffin will once again open next season as the frontrunner to start in Washington, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Florio writes that while many pundits believe any optimism left in the organization for RGIII to return to his 2012 performance is only hot air to try to build his trade value, the team truly does plan to keep him around.
Gruden wants Griffin to get better, and first he must get healthier. This time on the bench could give Griffin a chance to do both, and hopefully a healthy 2015 season will go a long way to repairing his value as a franchise quarterback in Washington.