Yes, you read that headline right.
Sorry, to be a bummer. I know, I know. Kirk looked fabulous. I mean that. Hell, he looked like Tom Brady.
He made great reads, threw the ball on time and accurately, and knew when to flush plays that were dead on arrival. He was a leader, and ready to play, which is the hallmark of a pro’s pro who plays the role of backup.
I’m very happy for him. Good kid. But it was Jacksonville. And their secondary had all the coordination of electric football pieces with their plastic bases bent out of shape. I am pretty sure Cousins is not Brady, but we shall see.
Now, back to the smoldering wreckage that is the RG3 “era” here in Washington.
Oh sure. “We can rebuild him.” As Jay Gruden himself said after the game, Griffin will probably “set records” for the fastest comeback from a dislocated ankle.
Super. Can we hang a banner for that “record” too?
The sobering, depressing fact will begin to set in, if it hasn’t already: Mike Shanahan’s big bet is likely a loser.
Four for one. That was the deal. We gave up 3 number 1 picks and a 2nd rounder, and we got back RG3.
Four for one.
Except maybe Peyton Manning in his prime.
Now, RG3 is hurt again. At best (as of this writing) he could return at some point in 2014. And do what? Limp around and keep trying to “evolve” into a pocket passer? And what if Cousins is playing well?
At worst, he’s back to square one next summer, having missed one entire off-season, one entire season, and with major, catastrophic injuries to each side of the machinery that makes him mobile.
He will be entering his fourth season, as uncertain as ever as the franchise quarterback, yet also running into a crucial club decision on whether to pick up his 5th year option.
Cousins may complicate that greatly, should he show enough to warrant a new deal. Which he will be due as soon as 2016, since as a 4th round pick the team only controls him for four years off his rookie deal, not five like first rounders.
Fast forward to next September 1st. Can you see the nightmare from here? I can.
RG3 vs. Cousins is far from resolved as to your future, and both guys will need a decision. New deal for Kirk? Don’t pick up the option on Robert’s 5th year until he proves he can stay healthy? And how exactly do you manage that hot mess in the media and with fans? Who is on the cover of the media guide?
Hell, who’s the starter?
I know what you are saying: this is a GOOD problem to have. Right? Most teams would KILL for a decent young backup, right?
Sorta. And that’s assuming Cousins is “decent.” The remaining 14 games will be a demanding task master. Right now he’s got two wins as a starter in the NFL. Cleveland and Jacksonville.
As Denny Green once said: “If you wanna crown him, then go ahead… crown his ass!”
I said before the season – and loudly – that Griffin was going to have a good year. Better than last year, but not quite his rookie tour de force. My only fear, was re-injury.
Those fears have come home full force.
I don’t want to pretend like I know what players are “injury prone” but the data points are surely coming in on Griffin, and they look bad. Some have said he’s got little “sprinter legs” that are unsuitable for a long career.
Eh. Maybe. I don’t have a leg caliper on me, and Griffin hasn’t let me get close enough to him yet to measure.
Perhaps more troubling is the undeniable truth that the door is now sealed like a vault on him ever returning to the “electrifying” RG3 we saw as a rookie. The one who could capture the edge on any pass rusher, the one who could suck a defense into his jetwash while darting up the middle.
That guy? Gone.
Not that I bow out, at this point, nor should the Redskins.
But what did this organization project for Griffin, when they pushed such a dizzying ransom onto the table for him? Did they scout and rate him as a “revolutionary” dual-threat weapon for a decade or more? Did they expect to transition him into a more pure pocket passer after his rookie season?
We’ll never know, and the guy who committed us to this purchase has been fired. He’s likely in Cabo. Ask him.
It’s not so much that I wonder “WILL RG3 be any good when he comes back” it’s “WHAT GOOD is RG3 when he comes back from now this latest speed scrubbing injury?”
Let me take a wild swing at “Best Case/Worst Case.”
Best Case: Cousins plays GREAT, and this team makes the playoffs. He’s named the starter next summer (regardless of RG3’s rehab) we sign him to a new deal and tell RG3 this will be his last year as a Redskin. Cousins proceeds to be our franchise QB for a minimum of 5 years.
Worst Case: RG3 is wrecked and will never be the same. Cousins proves to be a backup caliber player you simply cannot make your starter, or spend any significant money on. We are back draft-hunting for a QB again next May.
The truth will probably land somewhere uncomfortably in the middle. And it will fill my phone lines on the radio for not just months, but likely, years.
I want to re-iterate, lest anyone think I’m just being a “sore-loser” on staking so much on RG3’s comeback and season sans Shanny, that I am HUGE Kirk Cousins fan now. Huge. Maybe this kid IS special. I would happily wear the dunce cap and sit in the corner if his future brilliance ends up parallelling the Brady-for-Bledsoe plot twist everybody watched in New England.
But aside from the short-lived sugar high of beating the stuffing out of the Jags and Chad Henne, this was a disaster as big as the blown out knee in the Seattle game. Maybe bigger.
At least following that game, nobody was wondering who the starter should be.