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Need to Know: Redskins’ quarterback room remains the same–for now

Mar 18, 2015, 5:22 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 18, 43 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Redskins QB room remains the same—for now

There won’t be any changes in the Redskins’ quarterback room. At least not for now.

Colt McCoy has re-signed with the Redskins. He got a one-year deal to return to the team that he made four starts for in 2014. You could make a case that he was the team’s best performer at QB last year.

He joins Robert Griffin III, who Jay Gruden has named the starter for at least the beginning of the season, and Kirk Cousins, who played well in 2014 with the damaging exception of a propensity to turn the ball over. As you know, it’s the same trio that “led” the Redskins to a 4-12 season last year.

That is, it’s the same for now. With none of the three under contract for 2016 the Redskins may be keeping their eyes open to add another.

There are plenty of possibilities for adding another quarterback from making a huge splash like drafting Marcus Mariota to taking a quarterback later in the draft to getting a practice-squad quarterback in the undrafted market to getting another veteran who might get released.

If the Redskins do want a QB in the draft, the signing of McCoy is unlikely to deter them from doing that. If they take a quarterback early in the draft either Griffin or Cousins is likely to be traded. Should they take one late, McCoy could be shown the door.

McCoy is a good quarterback to have on the roster. He is a capable backup who can win a game or two for you if you need him. But he has demonstrated that he is not a 16-game starter, not if you want to be better than 6-10 anyway.

If the QB lineup does wind up being the same as it was last year the emphasis needs to be on figuring out if Griffin or Cousins is a guy you can win with going forward. In other words, McCoy should not be taking any snaps if either Cousins or Griffin is healthy enough to play.

How important was bringing back McCoy? It all comes down to Griffin, as usual. If he makes real progress in OTAs and training camp and carries that into the regular season, McCoy will be what everyone thought he would end up being last year, the third QB who rarely even dresses for a game. If Griffin falters, McCoy will be a major topic of conversation and perhaps a pivotal player in the team’s season.


—It’s been 80 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 179 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 33; 2015 NFL Draft 43; Redskins training camp starts 134

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. sidepull - Mar 18, 2015 at 6:32 AM

    No big deal here. I would hope McCoy does not take away competition snaps from Robert and Kirk. I want those two to settle this competition finally so we can see if we do have a franchise QB. McCoy has been in the NFL for 6 years now and I would think they probably have a good understanding of what they have there. It certainly will not prevent the from drafting a QB and as history has shown us Robert does get hurt. Its good to have a back up that doesn’t need to learn Jays system and can pull out a win.

  2. troylok - Mar 18, 2015 at 6:44 AM

    I think re-signing Colt was the right thing to do. He’s a good insurance policy and it shows a little loyalty to a guy that won some games for them last year. I don’t think this shows their hand. The only thing that bothers me about the QB position is if the team customizes the offense to fit RG3’s unique abilities, then Cousins and McCoy aren’t QB’s with the same style. If RG3 gets hurt, then they have to tweak the offense when one of the other guys comes in. I would think it would make the most sense to find backups that are scramblers, too. This is all if the Redskins decide to make adjustments to the offensive scheme for RG3. If Gruden decides to continue making RG3 a pocket passer (a plan I don’t endorse), then I guess RG3 will be the one adjusting.

    • Nathaniel Tolliver - Mar 18, 2015 at 7:57 AM

      People make it seem like Jay Gruden had a gun to RG3’s head and forced him to try to become a pocket passer. This is what RG3 wanted. He and his father wanted him to be a drop back QB. He’s getting exactly what he asked for. So people seem to think that because he failed at it that it’s Grudens fault? You can’t just instantly teach someone how to do it. Gruden still has a lot to prove as a head coach. He definitely made his share of mistakes. But if RG3 expects to have a long and healthy career in this league, then he needs to learn how be a pocket passer.

      • gasngo14 - Mar 18, 2015 at 8:14 AM

        Well Said!

      • redskinsinrichmondva - Mar 18, 2015 at 11:48 AM

        “He and his father wanted him to be a drop back QB. He’s getting exactly what he asked for. So people seem to think that because he failed at it that it’s Grudens fault?”

        Those quotes were during the 2012 offseason. In 2012, the Redskins ran the ball with the QB out of the zone-read on 22+% of their total rushes. They (and the rest of the organization, for that matter) wanted less of that to reduce injury risk.

        That’s *not* to say that the Griffins wanted to get rid of running or taking advantage of Griffin’s mobility altogether. Griffin has still expressed the desire to run the ball. In fact, Griffin himself said that much after games from the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

        So the narrative that Griffin wants to stop utilizing his inherent skillset is false. While he wants to throw the ball more, it doesn’t mean to stop doing the things he’s already good at. And that is a knock on Gruden. It’s not even about simply having Griffin run the ball; Gruden has also not used the play-action as much as Shanahan did, which is one of Griffin’s strengths. I posted about Gruden’s use of the play-action in another blogpost.

        • bangkokben - Mar 18, 2015 at 12:37 PM

          You and I are going to have a difference of opinion here. Griffin said after the 2012 season show me a running quarterback and you’ll show me a loser. That is a paraphrase. He has not backed down from this position. He has always been the willing soldier (hobbling on one leg against Seattle or running the read option against Jacksonville , and even his 1st game back against the Vikings) until late last season where he wouldn’t keep it on obvious read options where he would have gotten more yards than leaving it in the belly of the back. He was fearful or reluctant at the end of the season. Sure, he’s much better on play action but you can’t run play action on 3rd and 8. Especially since you’re in 3rd and 8 because on 2nd and five he didn’t keep the ball and instead let the back take a negative play.

        • brucefan1 - Mar 18, 2015 at 1:38 PM

          Quotes from WHO?

          Who is attaching his name to that statement. A coach? A teammate? Or someone who heard it through the grapevine?!

          And besides you’re referring to 2012!

          IF that statement is true, its hard to blame a guy coming back from one of the most horrific knee injuries in NFL memory and forced to wear a GINORMOUS brace to be able to/want to be primarily a running QB!

          But 2013 — THAT’S is a different story: When returning from his ankle injury Griffin is ON THE RECORD as saying that he was ready, WILLING and able to run all the plays that we’ve come to expect of him; roll out, read-option AND drop-back.

          Last season seems to provide evidence that making Griffin a primary a drop-back passer was Jay’s idea. (Why would he do so? Because that’s the kind of passer he best understands and prefers, maybe?)

          Also, allowing Griffin to run a greater assortment of out-of-the-pocket plays, as he did at the end of last season, also provides hints that Gruden was convinced (by others perhaps?) that the drop-back approach was NOT the best way to go with Griffin — at least at this time.

        • redskinsinrichmondva - Mar 18, 2015 at 1:46 PM

          The 2014 Redskins were in 3rd and 4 or less for 34.5% of their 3rd downs. That’s the highest percentage during the Griffin era.

          So it’s not like they had more 3rd and long situations that caused less use of the play-action. Despite this, Gruden has called for play-action on the Redskins’ dropbacks less frequently (24.2%, compared to the 30.2% rate that Shanahan used play-action with Griffin).

        • redskinsinrichmondva - Mar 18, 2015 at 3:10 PM

          Even if you limit the 3rd and short percentage to the games that Griffin played in 2014 (15 or more dropbacks), the Redskins still had a 32.6% rate; not much different from the rates during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

      • brucefan1 - Mar 18, 2015 at 1:24 PM

        I’ve got to disagree.

        Where did you ever hear Jay say (or even HINT!) he was being forced into making Griffin strictly a drop-back passer, against Jay’s better judgement, last season — ESPECIALLY by Griffin himself. More unsubstantiated rumor,.

        What HAS been substantiated is that when returned to the starting lineup after recovering from the ankle injury, Griffin is on the record (archived articles from that week will corroborate that) as saying that he was ready, WILLING and able to run all the plays that we’ve come to expect of him; roll out, read-option AND drop-back!

        That IS in on the record! But I have never heard anybody from last season — who was actually in the locker room — quoted as saying that Griffin refused to be a mobile QB, or to allow running/scrambling plays to be called last season. I’m still waiting for proof of that.

    • dkat44 - Mar 18, 2015 at 8:48 AM

      RG3 (and daddy) have refused the read option plays. He has demanded to instantly transform into a successful pocket passer after getting hurt under Shanny.

      • bowlregard - Mar 18, 2015 at 9:08 AM

        He ran two read options against the Jags before he hurt his ankle.

        • dkat44 - Mar 18, 2015 at 1:16 PM

          In which he started to look more productive than his last 20 games.

        • dkat44 - Mar 18, 2015 at 1:33 PM

          Oh yeah…and wasn’t even touched by a defender.

  3. deepball1 - Mar 18, 2015 at 8:31 AM

    Gruden is exhibiting characteristics of INSANITY……no really. Because it was Albert Einstein who defined INSANITY.

    “doing the same things over and over but expecting a different result”.

    So if Gruden brings back the exact same 3 quarterbacks to compete with each other, and he alternates starts during the season…..if he expects the offense to be different from last season then he is clearly insane.

    i.e. …….If you do the same things over and over….you will get the same results over and over.

    • deepball1 - Mar 18, 2015 at 8:36 AM

      p.s. clearly the DEFENSE will be vastly different. So Scott M. and Joe Barry are not insane. lol

      • skinsgame - Mar 19, 2015 at 1:00 AM

        I was unaware that Gruden brought any players back. Isn’t player acquisition Scots job?

    • gasngo14 - Mar 18, 2015 at 8:49 AM

      This is what happens when a franchise sells the farm for ONE player :)

      BTW….Gruden did not make this trade!

      • 226thebeatdontstop - Mar 19, 2015 at 9:59 AM

        Gruden is not a good coach by any stretch of the imagination ..Poor practices….players not knowing or missing assignments….poor play calling…poor half time adjustments….If the Skins hired Mcvlougin before the coach there is no way he would have hired Gruden……

    • warpath1 - Mar 18, 2015 at 8:57 AM

      Gruden hasn’t made any personnel moves, he is only the head coach, not the GM

    • bowlregard - Mar 18, 2015 at 9:10 AM

      That quote has become a cliche. Only the insane use it any more.

    • bangkokben - Mar 18, 2015 at 10:08 AM

      I would hardly see having the same three for a 2nd year as “over and over.” Clearly last year was a failure on all parties. If each party (Gruden, Griffin, and Cousins) improves, then we may have something to work with. The notion that none can improve IS insane. What you have is a 2nd year head coach, a 25-year old quarterback adjusting to a new way of doing things, and a young QB that has played less than a season. You don’t have coach that has to has his way or the highway, Rex Grossman, and John Beck.

      • brucefan1 - Mar 18, 2015 at 1:46 PM

        Whoa! That was AWESOME, ben!

        And how’d you get it so SUCCINCT! (I’m jealous.)

    • brucefan1 - Mar 18, 2015 at 1:43 PM

      Awww…don’t drag poor Einstein into this argument!! LOL!

  4. Stephfan - Mar 18, 2015 at 9:01 AM

    It may be what griffin wanted but it takes longer than a year to become a pocket passer..

  5. renhoekk2 - Mar 18, 2015 at 9:28 AM

    This is not the year to try and get a QB. Some years are like that. Winston is the only pro ready QB and you have to worry if he is a ticking time bomb off the field. Not to mention the enormous price to move up. Again. Mariota is more of the same Griffin, Manziel system QB that is more of a project than a can’t miss starter. Non draft options were something along the line of trading for Bradford or Foles. Anybody excited about those options? Matt Schaub and Tavaris Jackson are available as well. So ya they brought back the same group of guys.

    Better to role the dice on Cook, Hackenberg, Jones, Goff or someone else next year. Or maybe the heavens will finally smile on the Skins and Griffin or Cousins finally flip the switch and become a capable starting QB.

    • ET - Mar 18, 2015 at 12:30 PM

      I agree regarding the general prospects of the QBs in the upcoming draft. I’d rather wait. That said, seems like there are a few dark horse / developmental prospects for those organizations who, you know, try to nurture and develop prospects over time.

      As far as McCoy goes, I think he’s a great backup—smart, calm, patient, well-prepared. I trust him far more than most of the other perma-backups out there. As long as fans are realistic about what McCoy really is—a capable backup, not a starter, savior, or solution—I fail to see why resigning him is an issue at all.

  6. gonavybeatarmy - Mar 18, 2015 at 9:46 AM

    The Skins most likely are not playoff-bound, so it’s best to just let the process unfold and not deduce too much from it.

    McCloughan is a highly skilled personnel man and he’s seemingly in total control. It may take a couple of years but he will eventually make the organization consistently competitive, something that has not been the case for nearly a quarter century.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 18, 2015 at 10:41 AM

      That is my hope.

      My fear is The Danny and his raging case of small man’s disease will wreck it all yet again.

    • brucefan1 - Mar 18, 2015 at 1:50 PM

      “McCloughan is a highly skilled personnel man and he’s seemingly in total control”

      I’m in total agreement on McC. (at least so far), gonavy; but dotcha just LOVE those who comment here who are CONVINCED that they know BETTER!! LOL

  7. Jgd2016 - Mar 18, 2015 at 10:08 AM

    This could be a problem, only because I see Gruden giving McCoy starts if Griffin and Cousins struggle. Just like last year. Hopefully Gruden will understand that this season is about the future, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see McCoy given starts because “he gives the team the best chance to win right now”

    • bangkokben - Mar 18, 2015 at 10:13 AM

      If McCoy starts, it’s because of the future. Not that McCoy is a long-term answer but because it will be clear that Griffin and Cousins both in their last year of their contract are clearly not a long-term answer. Both would have to play turrible (cue Charles Barkley) and or Griffin being injured which again would indicate that he is not a long-term answer.

      • brucefan1 - Mar 18, 2015 at 1:54 PM


        You better wipe some Windex on that Crystal Ball of yours, ben!

        (Btw, Howz the stock market gonna do next year? And can you help me with my NCAA hoops bracket?! Hehe)

        • bangkokben - Mar 18, 2015 at 2:39 PM

          So you think the staff views McCoy something more than a back up?

          I’m saying if McCoy starts any games in 2015 then the quarterbacks (Griffin, presuming he’s here, and Cousins) each crapped out or were injured.

        • Stephfan - Mar 18, 2015 at 2:46 PM

          Ben don’t know foutball

    • renhoekk2 - Mar 18, 2015 at 12:36 PM

      Unfortunately for Gruden and most NFL coaches they can’t afford to look to the future. If Gruden, or any coach in his position, doesn’t win enough games, they will lose their jobs. Yes he gets paid anyway, but I’m sure he would rather be coaching. He’s getting paid to win games now. Right or wrong, that is the situation. If they only win 5 or 6 games there is a good chance he is gone. He’s not going to let one guy continue to play 16 games if they aren’t winning in the hope that there is some sign of improvement for the future.

      • brucefan1 - Mar 18, 2015 at 2:03 PM

        Don’t know for sure, obviously, but I’d be shocked — SHOCKED — if the Front Office doesn’t know that if a QB who proves to be sub-par is allowed to start over one who has PROVEN this camp to be superior that there will be a REVOLT in the locker room — as well as among the fans!

        They can’t be THAT stupid!! (Especially with the new guy running the show.)

        Too naive on my part? ;^}

    • bowlregard - Mar 19, 2015 at 10:34 AM

      Everybody is so quick to put a cap on McCoy’s abilities. One has to remember this was Colt’s first year in the system, he’d not started an NFL game in quite some time, yet he came in and had an impressive amount of success. Everyone is waiting to see if Griffin and Cousins can improve, but we have to see if Colt can improve within Jay’s system as well. That’s the fun of watching anyway.

  8. bangkokben - Mar 18, 2015 at 10:46 AM

    Rich, the being on the active roster incentives, are these expected to be earned?

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 18, 2015 at 12:53 PM

      Partially. Since he was active for 12 games last year, 12 X 31,250 of the incentive is LTBE so it counts against this year’s cap. If he’s active fewer games than that the difference will be credited back to the Redskins’ 2016 cap.

      > > >

      • bangkokben - Mar 18, 2015 at 1:05 PM

        Thanks. I forgot how often he was active with Griffin being injured.

        • brucefan1 - Mar 18, 2015 at 2:05 PM

          Uh-oh…Rich is watching us. Clean up the act, fellas!

  9. brucealmty - Mar 18, 2015 at 12:56 PM

    Redskins have such an opportunity this year to improve their team, I just hope Scot has success. If he does, many of last years problems will improve and we will really be on the road to contending.

    • brucefan1 - Mar 18, 2015 at 2:13 PM

      Nice! Agreed!

      (I might just change my handle to “brucealmtyfan1”!)

    • bowlregard - Mar 19, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      Worst to first, baby!

  10. greed - Mar 18, 2015 at 3:15 PM

    grudens main crime wasnt just the mishandling of all 3 qbs but his mishandling of the ENTIRE offense- first mistake was not consistently commiting to the running game to one form an identity on O and to help out an small average passblocking line then when playes such as chester luavo polumbus licth struggle he refused to replace them which is a reason after early encouraging play all 3 Qbs struggled the more they played-his pass happy playcalling was a far cry from the smashmouth physical offense he described in offseason a yr ago

  11. pdxskin - Mar 18, 2015 at 7:24 PM

    Colt was brought back to be the #2 guy – either RG or Cousins (more likely RG) will be traded on draft day, ending any question of a QB controversy. Book it!

    • skinsgame - Mar 19, 2015 at 1:04 AM

      PDX? From the WaPo?

  12. warpath1 - Mar 18, 2015 at 7:56 PM

    Colt was brought back because he executed the offense the best. Hopefully rg and cousins will learn from that. But please quit blaming the cook for the meal. Gruden can only work with what he is given

    • 226thebeatdontstop - Mar 19, 2015 at 10:04 AM

      Are you kidding me? If Mccloughin was hired before the coach there is no way he chooses Gruden…..Gruden does one thing well , run his mouth.
      He is a poor game day planner he runs poor practices demonstrated by what happens on Sundays, poor in making halftime adjustments, poor in quarterback development, poor in play calling, poor in discipline…. If they don’t win 5 games he is fired! Archives

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