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A Redskins quarterback competition in name only?

May 8, 2015, 12:44 PM EDT

McCoy-RG3-Cousins-Richmond

Redskins’ GM Scot McCloughan gave some clarity to the Redskins’ quarterback situation during a radio appearance on 1067 The Fan on Thursday. Or did he?

Coach Jay Gruden has said that Robert Griffin III is “the No. 1 guy” and would run the first-team offense during OTAs and in training camp. Host Grant Paulsen asked McCloughan why there wasn’t an open quarterback competition.

“It is open. It is open,” McCloughan replied, apparently repeating himself for emphasis. “But, you know, it’s Robert’s job to lose. It’s definitely wide open . . . I can promise you this, the guy that wins the job is going to be the starter Day One. Right now Robert has the opportunity to walk out there Day One and get the first snaps.”

“Our bottom line is to win football games. That’s why I’m here, that’s why Jay’s here, that’s why Bruce is here, that’s what Dan wants. We have to win football games. The best players are going to play.”

The question here is, how can it be an “open” competition if it’s already one player’s job? That’s not really a “wide open” deal there.

“It’s his job to lose” could be said of any player’s job. In theory, Trent Williams can play his way out of his job as the starting left tackle. But his job is not “open”. They won’t go through training camp and have him take about half of the reps with the first team and have Morgan Moses take the other half and then decide who plays better. It’s Trent Williams’ job.

On the other hand, right guard Chris Chester’ job truly is “wide open”. He will be pushed hard by Spencer Long and perhaps by rookie Arie Kouandjio. There could be some alternating of snaps with the first unit. When the starters line up for the first preseason game it would not be shocking to see Long in there.

Chester is in what most of us would call a competition for the starting job. Williams is not. Is Griffin’s position more like that of Chester’s, where Long has a fighting, very legitimate chance to take away the job? Or is Griffin more like Williams, in a competition in theory only? It’s probably somewhere in between but it sure sounds more like the latter than the former.

It should be noted that having a true quarterback competition comes with a price, especially for a younger quarterback like Griffin. He needs all of the snaps he can get with the first team in order to get ready for the regular season. Cutting those in half to determine a winner would not serve Griffin—or Cousins or McCoy if one of them one the job—very well.

  1. gasngo14 - May 8, 2015 at 12:59 PM

    Robert needs to perform and if not they have some options is what i get out of it, pretty simple. I am not sure why so many want to make such a big deal out of this? Robert needs to prove he is the QB and until then it should be the way it is, open for the best performer!

  2. gurnblanstonreturns - May 8, 2015 at 1:21 PM

    Scot McCloughan is handling the Griffin situation very well. He has conducted free agency and the draft with a solid plan in place. He realizes that the Skins will not be remade into a consistently competitive team in one offseason or even two. He recognizes the complex situation that Griffin presents. Griffin is a talented athlete at the most important position in the game who was brilliant in his rookie season. But, he has proven fragile and did not make significant strides in his first season in Gruden’s offense. Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen have invested a fortune in Griffin – money, draft picks, p.r., etc. They have grasped for stars and shiny baubles while neglecting the necessary grunt work of building a team. But, they have entrusted him with transforming the franchise, changing this history of flash with no substance into a competitive team built on fundamentals like toughness, hard work and resilience. McCloughan knows that, despite all the work he has already put in reviewing the current roster and scouting for free agents and draft picks, he faces his two biggest scouting jobs this season: (1) is Gruden his coach and (2) is Griffin his QB. The best way to find out is to put Griffin in the best position possible by exercising the option and granting him first crack at the job. Then, McCloughan can evaluate how Gruden and Griffin prepare and perform this season. At season’s end, no one – not Snyder or Allen or Gruden or Griffin – can say that the coach and quarterback were not given every opportunity to perform. If Gruden and Griffin are successful – fantastic. But, if either or both fail to perform, McCloughan can decide to move on and face his second offseason aware of all positions he needs to fill as part of his long-term plan. Kudos to McCloughan for having a plan and sticking to it.

    • abanig - May 8, 2015 at 1:34 PM

      Agreed, good points bro

    • hk2000 - May 8, 2015 at 3:41 PM

      Only 1 thing I disagree with, Gruden is a horrible coach, and Griffin failure may very well be a result of the bad, pedestrian, predictable and simplistic offensive scheme this coach runs.

      • ajbus1 - May 8, 2015 at 4:57 PM

        If that were true and it was that obviuosly bad then Gruden would have already been fired. No one knows yet. Just like the QB position, it requires some time to establish. Impatience has never benefited anyone in the NFL, especially the Skins.

      • cowboyhater - May 8, 2015 at 6:00 PM

        So what part of Gruden’s offense makes it bad, pedestrian, predictable, and simplistic?….examples would be good, because what I saw was a frustrated coach having to scale back an offense to suit a QB who struggled mightily……..

      • skinsgame - May 8, 2015 at 7:26 PM

        Hopefully both Gruden and Griffin turn in a better performance this upcoming season but, no way can the Griffin camp unload their baggage onto the Gruden blame train for last year. Not as long as everyone has eyeballs anyway.

      • dcfaninecuador - May 9, 2015 at 9:33 AM

        “Horrible coach” based on what? Horrible offensive line? Horrible defensive backfield? Horrible offensive line? Horrible blocking? Horrible injuries? Horrible QB play? (None of them were very good when given the chance). Oh yeah, they didn’t run the ball, which is a great strategy when always playing from behind and running behind an offensive line that can’t block.

      • Brian jeffries - May 10, 2015 at 6:42 AM

        Without a defense or offensive that mike shanahan wants small who could succeed after a power Hungary coach

        • Brian jeffries - May 10, 2015 at 6:44 AM

          I don’t know y anyone would want such a small online. I luv the zone run but protecting a qb is more important

    • Tom - May 9, 2015 at 4:17 AM

      Could not of said it better. You nailed it.

    • Byrdman - May 9, 2015 at 8:36 AM

      Very well put.

  3. abanig - May 8, 2015 at 1:32 PM

    If Gruden has anything to say about it, and I believe he does, it’s a truly open competiton.

    • ajbus1 - May 8, 2015 at 4:58 PM

      Truly open with Griffin getting the first try.

  4. troylok - May 8, 2015 at 2:39 PM

    Geesh, what do you want from the guy? Someone has to line up with the regulars and that someone will be Griffin. On day one. The team isn’t going to guarantee the guy his job, which is what it seems Rich wants. He didn’t play well enough last year to get those assurances. Let’s see RG3 get in the pocket and make better, faster decisions and then maybe we can talk about who is definitely, written-in-granite the number one QB.

    • gasngo14 - May 8, 2015 at 2:55 PM

      EXACTLY!

  5. timwillhidetimwillhide - May 8, 2015 at 2:56 PM

    I believe the GM has noticed and is addressing the main problem with this team The Oline. So far he has Drafted 3 Olinemen and signed I believe 3 or four free agents Olinemen. Don’t be surprised if he brings in a couple more .

    • skinsgame - May 8, 2015 at 7:29 PM

      He’s paid equal attention, more so really, to the defensive line. It seems to me that he is rebuilding the line of scrimmage pieces on both sides of the ball. There is no “main problem” with a 4-12 team. The whole thing is the main problem.

  6. renhoekk2 - May 8, 2015 at 3:58 PM

    Unless he is inexcusably bad in training camp and preseason games, Griffin will be the starting QB come week one. Even then he might still be the guy. 2012 Griffin avg about 26 passes/gm. 2013 it was 35/gm. Last season in the games he played the majority of the snaps it was 30/gm. In 2012 he threw for more than 250yds only 4 times. If people want the 2012 version of Griffin then that’s what we need him to do. I think McCloughan and Gruden want to get back to limiting Griffins attempts by having a better running game and playing better defense. Making Griffin into more of a game manager instead of some sort of offensive catalyst. We’ll see if Griffin buys into it or will he still try to be a “play maker”.

    • ajbus1 - May 8, 2015 at 5:02 PM

      I completely agree. Getting back to running the ball more and improving the defense, which is what McC is doing, is what this team and Griffin needs. He will get at least 8 games to show he can get back to form with a scaled back load on offense.

    • bangkokben - May 8, 2015 at 7:22 PM

      It’s not as much about being a game manager as much as being a successful Griffin. You’re right in that Griffin isn’t Tom Brady or even Andrew Luck and he cannot and should not be expected to beat you as a pocket passer. But a ‘play maker,’ he is and it is a lot easier to be a play maker when it is 3rd and 2 (due to a strong running game and commitment to the run) instead of 3rd and 9. Or would you prefer he not try to score against the Giants in the red zone like last year where he ‘fumbled?’ The result was horrible albeit it flukey but IF the play breaks down you need that play-making ability. What we don’t need is him going off schedule just to be heroic or any other reason than the play broke down.

      • Skulb - May 9, 2015 at 9:50 PM

        Morris got stuffed like a turkey constantly last season. And that goes back to not having a credible threat to the secondary because of poor reads, hesitancy or turnovers. Apart from Cousins against Dallas neither Redskins QB ever looked like a serious threat in the air, at least not consistently. So the opponents always knew the run was coming and homed in on Morris. It`s not as if there was a lack of qualified people to throw the ball to last year either with Garcon and Jackson up top and Reed on TE.
        You can`t just run. You need a passing game as well. And it remains to be seen whether Griffin can provide it I think. He must improve his distribution from last season to open up the running game. And the reason they were at third and nine+ so many times last year was that the delivery of the ball just wasn`t there. Snap after snap of either dropped balls, sacks, runouts or the inevitable “rungame” against the now confident D line you have handed the game to that fail miserably. The only QB ho didn`t play like that last season was Cousins (And McCoy vs Dallas I guess) because he did the process well. Catch the snap, dropback and reads then pass. No delay, no waiting, just pass. So he wasn`t run at as much as the other two. Until the ints started that is…
        Anyway he showed you what you need in the passing game. If the QB plays like that, minus throwing the ball to the other team, the running game can explode too.

        • bangkokben - May 10, 2015 at 9:28 AM

          Skulb, that was last year. And by and large I agree with what you said. It is my contention that the replacements on the line – right tackle, other potential players, o-line coach, etc – has as much if not more to do with the “morris-getting-stuffed-like-a-turkey-bit” than the quarterback failures. Sure, the QB failed and perhaps needed more time but what better way to keep him from failing by not putting him in those situations.

        • Skulb - May 10, 2015 at 4:00 PM

          I agree with that. I just think we shouldn`t think McCloughan is some sort of a magician here. I have said since early last season that the only one on offense who played consistently good last season was Jackson. The rest of the team was completely out of tune; line, zone blockers, TEs dropping the ball, RBs getting stuffed and the QBs not throwing or throwing to the wrong team.
          Lots of good individual plays here and there and a few people other than Jackson who managed to put in isolated good games. But nothing consistent. The entire offense needs work. Including the QBs.

        • bangkokben - May 10, 2015 at 4:16 PM

          Agreed on all fronts.

        • Skulb - May 11, 2015 at 5:33 AM

          Edit: Of course I meant Cousins against Philly.

  7. brucefan1 - May 8, 2015 at 7:04 PM

    I’ll go with just what Scot said; it’s Griffins job to lose. He has it now, but he CAN lose it through poor play.

    Not nearly secure as a Trent Williams, but much more secure than a Chris Chester.

    (Now if the Skins had drafted and signed as UDFAs a pant-load of QBs, like they did interior linemen, I mighta had to put Rob in the “Chester” category! LOL)

    • bangkokben - May 8, 2015 at 7:36 PM

      I’m under the impression that Griffin is the starting quarterback in as much as Pierre Garcon is a starting wide receiver. Of course there is open competition. There is no reason to state otherwise. What’s to gain? Cousins and McCoy not giving full effort, less effort from others on the team, the fans ire that feel that Griffin is too entitled.

      It is as if Griffin, McCoy and Cousins are running a mile race only Griffin has 3/4 mile head start. Can he lose? Of course. He could fall down several times, he could get hurt, he could wait until the others have caught up and pass him before he really gives effort. There are a variety reasons he could lose but none are more plausible than Griffin will win.

      • dkat44 - May 11, 2015 at 1:44 PM

        Exactly!

  8. 226thebeatdontstop - May 8, 2015 at 10:56 PM

    Rich why do you continue to write this nonsense? If you think RG3 is not a competitor or welcomes competition your a fool!
    RG3 can an will win any competition , if he can’t beat an over hyped Cousins or a has been retread McCoy then he doesn’t have a future in the NFL!!!

    You ever consider writing about Joe Barry the new defensive coordinator and how he plans to get pressure on the quarterback, will he utilize players to their strengths, and how he plans to shore up the secondary

    Have you ever considered writing about Jay Gruden the so called quarterback guru who failed miserably in his first year developing any quarterback on the Redskins??????

    • Skulb - May 9, 2015 at 9:53 PM

      Actually Cousins was better last year`s offseason and he played better in game time, although not by much after he started turning over all the time. Still, he was so much better last year before the season began that I was asking here why he wasn`t the starter if he`s the best QB. I base this on stats. Not sure what you base your opinion on. Emotion?

  9. mr.moneylover - May 9, 2015 at 1:12 AM

    Its rg3 job to lose…from what’s coming out of the locker room they change the playbook to fit rg3 playing style better go read desean jackson recent interview…he said there were changes made to the offense he said he didnt want to spill all the beans but ppl gonna be surprise this year…and he also said all the team want is for rg3 to stay healthy…the off-season so far for me is that the team going back to the roots that had some success first I hear that they wanna create a new version of the hogs now I hear playbook has change so rg3 can have success this year just like in his rookie season…ppl dont know but Seattle still use the read option alot but just not on every play if they can some how do what Seattle did and use mixture of a basic offense and running the read option then it will help rg3 alot…maybe rg3 realize that he cant be nobody but himself and stop tryna be the Aaron Rodgers and Peyton manning

  10. charge1 - May 9, 2015 at 4:15 PM

    Griffin had a great rookie season period! He has been horrible the last two. If he looks anything like the 2014 version put someone else in who looks like they have a clue reading defenses and throwing the ball with anticipation. I’m sick of the lovers of Rg3 who only blame other players/coaches for our 7/25 record the past two seasons. Oh and btw those 7 wins were not all rg3s.

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