With a new head coach, some intriguing free agents and a quarterback on the comeback trail, the 2014 Redskins are loaded with storylines. Between now and the start of training camp, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will be examining the top 30 questions the Redskins face as they get ready for the season.
Will the Redskins keep three quarterbacks on the roster?
When the Redskins signed quarterback Colt McCoy in April, the belief, at least outside of the organization, was that the 27-year-old was brought aboard to serve as insurance in the event Kirk Cousins was dealt. Well, Cousins remains a Redskin. And there have been conflicting reports as to whether GM Bruce Allen seriously contemplated dealing Cousins. Which brings us back to McCoy. With Robert Griffin III and Cousins entrenched as the starter and backup, what’s McCoy’s future in Washington?
El-Bashir: Since Griffin’s arrival in 2012, the Redskins have kept three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. (They had four briefly last season before Pat White was released after Week 1.) Keeping three QBs made sense for a couple of reasons: No. 1) Griffin’s high-risk style of play and injury history and No. 2) Cousins was just as inexperienced as Griffin and Rex Grossman could serve as a mentor to both. Now, though, keeping three QBs might not be as important. Griffin is completely recovered from a devastating knee injury. It also appears he’s going to be running less and, thus, exposed to fewer unnecessary shots. Plus, Cousins now has eight games under his belt, including four starts. And one more thing: Coach Jay Gruden has a well-established history of keeping only two signal callers on the 53 and using the additional spot on an additional offensive weapon.
Tandler: Right off the bat, it should be noted that Griffin did not miss any time due to injuries last year. He did leave the Broncos game in the fourth quarter after taking a hit but he said that he could have returned if the game had not been out of hand. The point is that Griffin doesn’t necessarily need “extra” injury protection. Sure, he could get injured and miss time; so could any of the other 31 starting quarterbacks in the NFL and about half of the teams in the league will carry just one backup QB on their rosters. They will use that precious roster spot to help special teams or bolster depth. In other words those teams will use the slot for a player who is likely to be able to help the team instead of one who is unlikely to set foot on the field. That said, and despite his history of using that roster spot for a useful player, I think that Gruden will end up going with three quarterbacks. If you don’t have a third QB on the 53 you should have one on the practice squad and the Redskins don’t have a PS-eligible QB right now. That leads me to believe that McCoy will stick around as the insurance policy.