With backup quarterback Kirk Cousins now officially penciled in as the Week One starter, the Washington NFL franchise has already altered its season before it even started. And while the man that Cousins is replacing hasn’t exactly been the definition of spectacular over the last few seasons, there are some associated with the Washington organization that prefer its original starter, Robert Griffin III, to remain at the helm despite a potential concussion. Griffin hasn’t been the same player since returning from a series of injuries but he may still be the most talented signal caller on the roster; and with him on the sidelines, questions are starting to arise about how the team will fare this season with Cousins and possibly even third-string QB Colt McCoy handle the duties. Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the chances for Washington’s upcoming 2015 season.
Riley: I’m sure anybody not named RGIII would be an immediate improvement over the debilitated superstar but changing quarterbacks this close to the season opener only spells trouble for Washington. Both the team and Griffin have been preparing all off season for him to be the opening day starter and now we find out literally two weeks before the 2015 campaign starts that the team is ready to go in a different direction. It’s a tough situation to be in, and it’s one that will ultimately derail Washington’s upcoming year. A lingering quarterback controversy and a division full of teams that have routinely made the postseason over the last few years will make for a complex challenge.
Green: Washington has spent the majority of the last few seasons fortifying its receiving corps, its front seven on defense and its running game on offense. The tools are still there for Washington to have a good year; they just need an efficient quarterback who can keep them out of mistakes and keep the ball moving. NFL teams deal with changes to their signal caller position every season and sometimes go on to have great years as long as the structure of the team is solid and in place. I’m not worried about Washington changing quarterbacks so soon. They’ve seen enough of every quarterback on their roster to know exactly what they have so inserting Cousins at this point was probably a move that was going to happen anyway. Griffin has struggled to operate second-year head coach Jay Gruden’s offensive system while Cousins appears to understand it a lot better. Unless Washington is willing to revert back to the read-option system that Griffin thrived in at college and his rookie year, I don’t see him being effective anymore.
Riley: We’ve seen Washington with and without RGIII at quarterback and neither scenario has been ideal. It won’t be just a quarterback change for Washington as the decision will come accompanied with a lot of outside media noise and constant scenes and pictures of RGIII standing on the sidelines moping. Griffin has been a bit of a drama king the last few seasons and the heat will definitely crank up now with him wearing a hat along the sidelines while Cousins and McCoy handle his job. I see nothing but struggles and controversy for this upcoming season and the team doesn’t have the leaders or abundance of talent to compensate.
Green: The drama that surrounds Griffin isn’t anything that’s new to Washington. The team has been dealing with the noise since he was drafted and it’s nothing they haven’t seen or heard already. Now it’s time to put an end to the RGIII soap opera and that starts by benching him. They have to move on from this culture of losing football and I wouldn’t be surprised to see coach Gruden pushed out the door right along with Griffin. Neither of the two were selections made by Washington’s new general manager, Scott McCloughan, and every GM would prefer to bring in their own personnel.I have faith in McCloughan. His track record as a GM and scout proves he knows how to put together winning football teams. Everybody needs to just get out of his way and let him do what he does best, even if that means getting rid of RGIII.