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Need to Know: If the Redskins draft a quarterback, who leaves?

Apr 3, 2015, 5:27 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Friday, April 3, 27 days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

If a QB comes, who goes?

The Redskins might draft another quarterback in the upcoming draft. That’s a possibility, not a certainty. But what is certain is that if they do draft a quarterback they intend to keep on the roster they will have to do something with one of the three quarterbacks who are currently under contract.

It doesn’t appear that Robert Griffin III is going anywhere unless the quarterback the Redskins draft is named Marcus Mariota. We’ll set that aside as an unrealistic scenario right now since it looks more and more like Mariota will be gone by the time Washington’s pick at No. 5 rolls around.

If the QB the Redskins draft is taken somewhere in the middle rounds then the Redskins will have a decision to make. Should they keep Kirk Cousins, who has shown some flashes of superb play interrupted by a tendency to throw interceptions in bunches, or Colt McCoy, who was instrumental in half of the Redskins’ four wins last year but isn’t much more than a career backup?

It seems to me that keeping Cousins is a no-brainer. If Griffin is sidelined for a significant period of time due to injury or ineffectiveness, Cousins is the QB you want in there. McCoy is good for a game or two at a time but between the two of them, Cousins gives the team the best chance of winning.

However, there is no reason to make this decision immediately after the draft. The team could go into training camp with the three veteran quarterbacks and the rookie and see how it shakes out. If another team’s quarterback suffers an injury in a preseason game perhaps they will get an attractive offer for Cousins.

It’s also possible that the Redskins will stick with what they have at quarterback and see how it plays out. That could be a risky strategy since none of the three players they have at the position now are under contract for 2016. But anything can happen and at this particular position anything that happens has ripple effects.


—It’s been 96 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 163 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 17; 2015 NFL Draft 27; Redskins training camp starts 118

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 - Apr 3, 2015 at 7:42 AM

    I agree with you and would hope it is McCoy. Hard to tell what Scots thinking is after watching all the film on the 3 amigos from last season. I am sure he has drawn some conclusions, and it will be interesting to see what happens this draft and in the preseason. The QB drama is not going to end for months unfortunately wether they draft a QB or not. I still think Cousins or RG3 will emerge this season to answer the question they have at QB. Hopefully that will be the case. If not I think next years draft class is better for a QB. It will be interesting to see how Cardale Jones does this year.

    • warpath1 - Apr 3, 2015 at 8:43 PM

      Hope cardale gets to start. I like how unfazed he seems in huge situations.

  2. bk70 - Apr 3, 2015 at 7:46 AM

    I think they should use a late round pick or select an undrafted prospect for a QB, planned for Practice Squad.
    Some names have been tossed around earlier by sportscasters, such as Cody Fajardo (Nevada), Brandon Bridge (South Alabama), or Ryan Williams (Miami-Fla). Chances are slim to none that the current three are on the active roster when the first game begins.

  3. colmac69 - Apr 3, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    Like everything else we wont know for sure until draft day

    However if they draft a qb with lower draft pick then you think either cousins or mccoy plays somewhere else (chances are cousins b elsewhere as I think he has more to offer than mccoy)

    They go mariota (imo its a gamble if they do) then rgiii is out and its question whether he can become starter as a rookie or spends yr behind cousins or mccoy (if they draft a qb then its not gd for cousins either way I think because no matter how he plays this season (if he wins starting job) its only warming position for mariota……..mccoy is gd backup who could do a job for short term
    …imo cousins can become a similar qb to tannehill if he given a proper opportunity right from start……

    But no matter what happens the redskins are sitting in nice position come draft day whether they stay put or trade pick for other options

  4. rtcwon - Apr 3, 2015 at 10:11 AM

    Rich, for someone as level and grounded as you, I don’t understand what you see in Cousins. Are you related to his agent or something? Kidding, but I remember a post with last season’s stats for all three and you somehow concluded Cousins had the best season? Now the statement that Cousins gives the team the best chance of winning? Did you mean the opposing team?

    The history of the league is littered with guys like Cousins because they can look real good against second string DBs (preseason) but since they guess who will be open, it becomes easier & easier to bait them into more & more interceptions the more tape they put out. Unlike “gun slingers” who are over confident in their arm and simply take too many risks, there is no coaching up guessers like Cousins. So I call them fool’s gold. It has never happened, name every QB who threw too many picks before coming around & they are all gun slingers.

    To me, resigning McCoy is clear evidence they are taking whatever they can get for Cousins. Should have took the 4th last year because it’s likely a 6th or 7th this year.

    • Rich Tandler - Apr 3, 2015 at 1:03 PM

      The Eagles game was the best game by a Redskins QB since 2012, even counting the pick and the last series. The Jax game may have been the second best.

      I’m not at all a fan of McCoy. He doesn’t have an NFL arm and he has zero leadership charisma. The shutout loss to the Rams was right down there with RG vs. the Bucs as the worst QB’s games of the season. He was lucky on the pass to Garçon against the Titans and the defense won the game in Dallas.

      The league is littered with guys like McCoy who can hold down the fort for a game or two but once the other defenses get film on him, it’s over.

      Where I disagree with you most is when you say “there is no coaching up”. I completely disagree. Farve was horrible at ball security. Luck hasn’t been too good at it. And after roughly 10 full games for Cousins, I think it’s ridiculous to say he can’t learn ball protetion.

      By the way, I also disagree with those that say that RG can’t learn. Maybe neither one will. In fact, the odds might be against both of them. But I’m not going to categorically what either one will be playing like in December.

      > > >

      • hk2000 - Apr 3, 2015 at 4:52 PM

        Yes, but Cousins has major psychological issues. I think he can be great if he sees a psychiatrist to help him over come the complete mental break down the moment he makes a bad play- maybe he can get with Rex Grossaman for some pointers.

        • ET - Apr 3, 2015 at 7:55 PM

          “Major psychological issues?”


          Do you have any basis for that ridiculous claim? (Joe Greene, is that you?)

      • Skulb - Apr 3, 2015 at 9:50 PM

        Promise me to never mention the Rams game again. That was the most depressing afternoon last season, which is saying something.

      • rtcwon - Apr 3, 2015 at 11:11 PM

        Best game since 2012 is a pretty low bar. And he did put up some nice stats those games, but to me it doesn’t change who he is.

        I’m not a fan of McCoy either, he is a backup at best.

        My point on “coaching up” is guys with arm talent like Favre can be coached to not take so many risks but guys like Cousins who pre-determine their reads can’t. To me, there is 0% chance of Cousins ever being a viable QB.

        I also disagree with those who say RG3 can’t learn to be a pocket passer because there’s tape of him being an elite one already. He needs to learn to trust his knee & not play in fear of re-injury. You’re right the odds are against that and after this year, there will be no hope but at least there is still hope this year.

      • lorcanbonda - Apr 6, 2015 at 12:15 PM

        Every time I’ve seen Cousins come on in relief, he has done a good job (including the Jacksonville game.) However, he seems to have a tough time putting four good quarters together. He has a stronger arm than McCoy, but I’m not sure that I would conclude that he gave us the best chance to win.

    • warpath1 - Apr 3, 2015 at 8:45 PM

      You obviously didn’t watch all of his playing time

    • warpath1 - Apr 3, 2015 at 8:47 PM

      You obviously didn’t watch all of cousins playing time

  5. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 3, 2015 at 10:54 AM

    Albert BreerVerified account ‏@AlbertBreer

    The Redskins have traded a 2016 sixth-round pick to the Buccaneers for S Dashon Goldson anda a 2016 seventh-round pick.

    Rick Stroud ‏@NFLSTROUD

    Terms of the trade were not released but the #Bucs could still be on the hook for the $4-million guaranteed portion of Goldson’s ’15 salary.

  6. ceetown22 - Apr 3, 2015 at 11:09 AM

    I would think that you bring ALL 4 QB’s to camp and you have a battle for all spots, then you release/trade who ever doesn’t cut it. I actually am a fan of Cousins as well, and I think he can develop into at least a decent starter. Look at Matt Schaub, he turned a good backup career (to an athletic type QB in MVick) into a starting gig and big contract with Houston and lasted a good, what, 5-6 years before he started declining. Just my 2 cents. HAIL!

  7. Skulb - Apr 3, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    To me it has to be Griffin or Cousins. Say what you want about McCoy but at least he`s proven himself in action rather than just at training camp. Both Cousins and RGIII are obvious talents but they`re also both in a rut. You can not release the only QB on the team who showed any signs of being able to win you games last season.

    This is a year and a half old but I think it`s still true. You need someone with a pocket presence at the QB position.

    • redskinsinrichmondva - Apr 3, 2015 at 12:12 PM

      McCoy wasn’t better than Cousins last season, production-wise.

      The other issue? He played just three full starts. There are issues with predicting Griffin and Cousins’s play in 2015 based on 2014 (7 and 5 full starts played in 2014, respectively). QB production tends to fluctuate from *season to season*. Smaller sample sizes don’t help.

      • Skulb - Apr 3, 2015 at 9:40 PM

        I agree. But the sample size is what it is. We still have to look at what actually happened and not what might happen in the future or what happened in 2012. And half the wins last season were to a certain extent the work of McCoy. I don`t think that was because he`s the best QB in the world, but just because he was slightly faster with his process than the other two QBs. If we assume that this still remains the case, I just dont agree with slashing the most quick minded QB on the team if you draft another one. Which is why I stick with Cousins as the obvious man to go if you`re replacing anyone.

    • ET - Apr 3, 2015 at 12:53 PM

      I am a McCoy fan—as a backup. He’s smart, well-prepared and keeps his ego in check. But I don’t think anyone should have illusions about his role or limits. Cousins and Griffin, for all their flaws, have considerably more talent and upside. My sense is the organization wants to see at least one of them blossom before cutting bait.

      • Skulb - Apr 3, 2015 at 9:34 PM

        Well yes. But as I have argued for a while the problem with RGIII last season was his average time to pass from snap, which was longer than the average pocket collapse time of the O-line. Unless he can become faster in this process or the O-line is upgraded to buy RGIII the time he apparently needs, McCoy is just safer because he gets rid of the ball on average 0,5 seconds faster. And Cousin`s problem was just interceptions. Other than that he looked very good.

        So if there is no draft of another QB I would put it like this:

        1: If the O-line gets a significant upgrade RGIII should start with Cousins on the bench and McCoy as backup.
        2: If the O-line is not significantly upgraded McCoy should start with RGIII/Cousins on the bench/as backup.

        I wouldn`t mind if Kirk gets another shot at proving himself. He has great potential and I`m not writing him off just because of his issues last year. But I think he really needs to take the next chance he gets. And you could really say the same thing about RGIII. I can`t see a scenario where Kirk would be an obvious starter though. It has to be either RGIII or McCoy depending on what happens with the line. And that means that either Cousins or McCoy should be dumped, again depending on what happens with the line.

  8. skip36 - Apr 3, 2015 at 12:50 PM

    It’s my understanding from what transpired last year with RG3 is that coach Gruden wants to bring more of a pro-style Quarterback behind center, RG3 couldn’t adjust under center too that style plus he got hurt so hence the Quarterback change to Cousin who played under center at Michigan, but threw to many interceptions, and with McCoy he just doesn’t have the arm, so Gruden brought in Matt Cavanaugh to coach up the Quarterbacks on the roster and any QB that we draft this year which I believe they will look for one who has played in a pro-style system in college, that makes the transition easier since that player already has a leg up on one who’s been in the spread system. Drafting a QB from the 4th round on down would be a player that Matt could bring along slowly & could be one of these QB’s: Sean Mannion Oregon State 6’6″ 229lbs; Garrett Grayson Colorado State 6’6″ 213lbs; or Chris Bonner 6’6″ 237lbs.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 3, 2015 at 2:16 PM

      Both RGIII and his dad wanted to make the change to pocket QB, not just Gruden.

  9. kenlinkins - Apr 3, 2015 at 4:02 PM

    So the new GM has traded for D Goldson, FS and all it cost was about 10 draft value points next year. So for 10 draft value points the Redskins get Goldson into OTA’s, Mini Camp and trading camp vs. waiting for TB to cut him in Aug and having to fight other teams who might be trying to sign him. I like the deal, Goldson can patrol the middle of the field better then most, is a willing tackler on running plays and like me doesn’t like the old TBII coverage defense. At worst, it is a one year rental at $4 million, at best he could be here playing 3 or 4 years. If this signing doesn’t get guys like Amerson and Thomas into the film room nothing will. IMO this is another WIN for the new GM.

  10. kenlinkins - Apr 3, 2015 at 4:24 PM

    If the Redskins draft a QB early (1st – 4th round) IMO McCoy has the lowest value of the 3 now on the roster and would be the odd man out. The only way McCoy stays is if Cousins is traded or a UDFA is picked up to try and develop (Bo Wallce or Cole Stoudt come to mind) and placed on practice Squad. IMO the new GM will not waste a draft pick on a QB who would not make the team this early in the rebuild.

  11. timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 3, 2015 at 5:13 PM

    I’m thinking the guy that got demoted to 3rd String will get the boot. Especially since they resigned McCoy. RG3 isn’t going anywhere. The GM said ” You don’t give up on a guy with that much talent this early”. Also why do people assume if they Draft Mariota RG3 is gone? Why would he? Draft picks for 2016 maybe but I look at it like the Drew Brees Phillip Rivers scenario. We invested allot in him miles well hold on till we have a solution

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Apr 3, 2015 at 6:14 PM

      Let it go, Tim.

      If RGIII is the QB you think he is, he will come back to us. If not, he never was.

      /internet imitation of some Zen philosophy or some such.

      • timwillhidetimwillhide - Apr 3, 2015 at 7:26 PM

        Im just looking at what was actually said by the GM and the fact that Cousins fell way out of favor with Gruden. Gruden wanted McCoy back and there wasn’t much invested in Cousins. I just don’t see anything pointing in his favor.

        • nomaan78 - Apr 4, 2015 at 2:04 PM

          RG3 fell way out of favor, then Cousins. Coach doent have a clue. As he is a first time head coach way in over his head.

  12. Redskins_USA's Team - Apr 5, 2015 at 3:40 PM

    Good read as always, great points.

    People underestimate Gruden’s ability to size up QB’s– if it were truly up to him, there would be an open competition. McCoy is just an inexpensive ($1.25 mil?! Helluva deal for a guy you can rely on for a couple of games!) insurance policy–it really comes down to RG3 vs Cousins.

    Regardless of who the best QB is for starter and backup respectively, I can’t help but to take a step back and look at all this in totality and saying, “Yes!” FINALLY, we aren’t as predictable in FA and draft. We knew this QB situation had to be addressed this year. But if the Eagles (or anyone for that matter) want Mariota, they’re going to have to pay to get him. Very impressed with our new GM and our HC buying in and partnering with the GM.

    When RG3 is injured this season, his stock falls big time. That’s when we will need Cousins to step up and prove to everyone that he is the man. What do we do when we play the Cowgirls? We want to destroy Tony Romo (legally nothing dirty) and watch him take 5 mins to get up after a good hard hit and his face mask full of grass. When he’s struggling, their offense is struggling. RG3 will be gunned by NFC East teams because they know he’s injury prone–they don’t want to injure him, but they want to hit him hard and if he is rattled or goes out that shakes up the confidence and rythym the offense has going. I think RG3 is going to get injured again this season. I pray he doesn’t, but he will–the question isn’t if but when and how severe. You can’t be a pocket QB if you can’t stand up in the pocket confidently, I just don’t see a transition happening the way we all hope it would. Fast forward to 2016-2017, we will be talking about drafting a QB or sticking with cousins (and at that point asking ourselves “would cousins do much better with a full offseason with 1st team reps and that confidence as being named starter?…We should have started cousins last season!”)

    • hogheadgeez - Apr 7, 2015 at 11:57 AM

      Started Cousins? Let’s be real, there’s only one QB currently on the roster that lead us to a winning season, and that’s Robert. As well as Kirk played (when he was playing well), how many wins did that translate into? I’m dumbfounded by the insistence that he is our GUY. Who has Kirk made better? Make no mistake, Griffin helped sparked a bigger turnaround ( rookie season) than both Luck and Wilson. The Skins was in far worse shape. Everything was good up until the injury. While I think Robert has lost a bit of his elite athleticism, I still believe he will be an elite QB when it’s all said and done. Archives

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