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Need to Know: Plenty of variables in Redskins QB situation

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Need to Know: Plenty of variables in Redskins QB situation

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, September 230, four days before the Redskins host the Eagles.

Question of the day

There are a lot of variables in the quarterbacks situation, rendering any prediction on if a change would be made from a healthy Cousins to Griffin is at best a guess. But let’s see if we can plough through some of the factors that Jay Gruden would have to consider.

First, I’m not so sure it’s fair to say that Cousins is “playing poorly”. He is more in the middle of the pack in most statistical categories. Sure, he has throw four interceptions, more than Jay Gruden would like. But eight quarterbacks, a fourth of the starters in the league, have thrown four or more picks this year.

But for our purposes here where he stands in comparison to the rest of the league is not as important as where he stands on the team. Could Griffin protect the ball better? To isolate one game, Cousins has received a great deal of criticism for throwing those two interceptions against the Giants. But he was forced to throw 49 passes. Griffin has thrown 49 or more times in a game twice. He was picked off twice in one of them and once in the other.

The disappointing game in the Meadowlands was just one game. Let’s look at the Dolphins game, when things were going better than they were against New York. Cousins was intercepted twice in 31 pass attempts. Griffin has attempted between 30 and 32 passes five times in his career. He threw five interceptions in those games including a pair or two-interception games. So Griffin is capable of having a similarly disappointing outing if he throws a similar number of attempts.

Setting aside the turnovers and expanding the view to career numbers, Griffin is slightly more accurate than Cousins (career completion percentage 63.9 Griffin, 61.1 Cousins) and he has a somewhat higher average yards per attempt (Griffin 7.6, Cousins 7.3). But Griffin gets sacked far more often (Griffin 8.7% of dropbacks, Cousins 3.7%), negating any advantage that Griffin has when passing. When you factor in yards lost on sacks, the offense gains an average of 6.3 yards every time Griffin drops back to pass compared to 6.7 for Cousins.

So, at the moment, there really is no evidence that Griffin would necessarily produce better than Cousins if he was in at quarterback under the same circumstances. But, with a few more games like the one against the Giants, where Cousins not only had the interceptions but also missed open receivers (notably Jordan Reed twice in the end zone), Gruden could feel the need to make a QB switch.

But would the change be to Griffin? Let’s say the Redskins stumble to 1-5 under Cousins and are out of any realistic playoff contention. What would there be to gain by risking the $16 million option guarantee if Griffin was to get injured badly enough to be unable to pass a physical in March of next year?

I think that if the season is lost and a quarterback change is made, the player under center would be Colt McCoy. Not because he’s the second best quarterback on the team—he’s not, he’s third by a clear margin—but because the risk of using Griffin, given his high sack rate, is greater than the reward.

Have we necessarily seen the last of Griffin? No, there could be some scenarios where an injury while the Redskins are still in playoff contention could open the door for one more chance for RG3. And, as I noted at the top of the post here, there are a lot of variables in play and an organization that can be unpredictable in its action. So while logic says that the RG3 era is over in DC, the reality could be a different outcome.

Have a question you'd like me to answer? Hit me up on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN or at Facebook.com/RealRedskins.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:45; Jay Gruden, Kirk Cousins news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30

Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Falcons 11; Redskins @ Jets 18

In case you missed it

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.

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Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

After separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Jordan Reed has officially been ruled out for the Redskins game in Arizona. 

Friday, coach Jay Gruden said Reed doesn't have sufficient range of motion to play against the Cardinals but remains hopeful he'll be healthy for the following game against the Eagles. Reed estimated that range was at about 30 percent Monday.

The decision to sit Reed against the Cardinals comes with little surprise. The 'Skins star tight end did not practice all week, even after having a few extra days to rest after the game last Thursday.

Playing without Reed is obviously a blow to the Washington offense, but No. 2 tight end Vernon Davis has been a strong development for Gruden's team this year. Thursday, Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay said that while losing Reed is a blow to the unit, the team can run almost all of the same plays and sets with Davis that they can with Reed. 

"Fortunately you’re in a situation where you feel really good about your tight end in Vernon Davis where he’s playing at an extremely high level in both phases in the run and in the pass game," McVay said.

As good as Davis has been, he's not the dynamic threat Reed presents. In the second half against Dallas — while playing with the injured shoulder — Reed hauled in two touchdowns and played arguably the best football of his career.

On the season Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns despite missing two games earlier this year dealing with a concussion.

Davis has played in all 11 games this season and has 31 catches for 450 yards and two TDs. 

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