Should the Redskins bench RG3 in favor of Kirk Cousins?
The Washington Redskins, however, have a unique quarterback situation, as some people believe that their backup quarterback is talented enough to give them a legitimate chance at winning week in and week out.
Kirk Cousins may be thought of by many as mere insurance for franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III, but Cousins has proven that he can be an effective player in his own right. Cousins started one game as a rookie in 2012 in which he helped the Redskins pour 38 points on the Cleveland Browns and get the victory. He threw for 329 yards and two touchdowns in that game, registering a 104.4 passer rating. He threw 11 passes in two games that he didn't start last season, rounding out his passer rating to 101.6 on the year.
We all know about the injury to Robert Griffin III, and how he made a speedy recovery to be ready for the start of the 2013 season - but I'm sure most of us also know about how the Redskins have struggled mightily through their first two games. The Redskins' poor play combined with Cousins' impressive 2012 resume has prompted some analysts, such as former NFL head coach Tony Dungy, to suggest that Griffin should be benched in favor of his backup.
The main reason that some people believe Griffin may need to hit the bench is that his knee is not yet fully healthy. However, I've watched good portions of both Redskins games this year, and health does not appear to be the issue to me. Griffin simply looks rusty - mostly from a mental standpoint. His uncharacteristic play has not been a result of him being physically unable to make plays. He has failed to consistently step into his throws, has rushed passes, and has simply made some bad decisions. These mistakes are not a result of a balky knee, but rather a result of not having played football since January 6.
Griffin has attempted to do what Adrian Peterson was lauded for a season ago - return from major knee surgery in just over eight months. What many of us forget, however, is that when Peterson was remarkably effective following his injury, it was considered miraculous. Due to the precedent set by Peterson, a lot of people are unfairly expecting Griffin to replicate a miracle.
Even Peterson was eased back into action when making his phenomenal return to the field. He ran the ball an average of 16.5 times per game over the first two weeks, and topped 17 carries only three times in the Vikings' first nine games. He didn't score a touchdown from weeks 2-6, and despite the jaw-dropping 6.0 yards per carry that he finished the season with, he was averaging less than 4.0 yards per carry through the first three weeks.