Over the next few weeks, Redskins reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will grade each position group’s performance in 2013 and evaluate the outlook for 2014.
Previously we looked at the specialists, inside linebackers, outside linebackers, the defensive line, cornerbacks, safeties, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, the interior offensive line and offensive tackles. Today we wrap up the series by examining the quarterbacks. This afternoon, we’ll take a look at a key question facing the position and examine possible solutions, so be sure to return.
2013 starters: Robert Griffin III (13 games), Kirk Cousins (3)
Reserves: Rex Grossman
Free agents: Grossman
Rewind: Blame the knee, blame the lack of offseason training, blame the Shanahans’ offensive, blame whoever you want. Griffin’s stats were down from 2012 in virtually every major category: completion percentage (65.6 in 2012 – 60.1 in 2013), touchdowns (20-16), yards/attempt (8.1-7.0), and passer rating (102.4-82.2).
His interceptions were up to 12 from 5 the previous year. Although Griffin’s passing yards went up very slightly, three yards to be exact (3,200-3,203) but he had to throw 63 more times to get there (393 pass attempts in 2012 – 456 last year).
On a few occasions in 2013 it looked like we were going to start seeing the rookie of the year RG3 who led the team to the NFC East title. But it turned out to be just a tease. He had a solid game against the Raiders (91.7 rating) to lead the Redskins to their first win of the season in Week 4. But after the bye week he and the team fell flat in Dallas as Griffin completed just 46.7 percent of his passes. He followed perhaps his best performance of the year in a win over the Bears with a face plant in Denver. The up-and-down pattern continued until he was benched with three games left to play.
Cousins played pretty well in the first two of his three starts with four turnovers being the only real black mark against him. His overall numbers suffered from a 19 for 49 passing performance in the season finale in New Jersey. Why Kyle Shanahan had him dropping back that often during a driving rain storm remains a mystery.
Grossman was active for the three games that Cousins started but for the second straight year he didn’t take a snap.
Fast forward: Jay Gruden was quick to declare that Griffin is going to be the Redskins’ starting QB. Griffin is already at work trying to make sure that his 2014 performance more strongly resembles that of 2012 than last year’s. He has set up passing camps with his receivers and he will be working with a quarterback coach to improve his footwork between now and the start of offseason workouts on April 7.
The picture beyond that is murky. Although the company line is that the team is not looking to trade Cousins they would be foolish not to answer the phone and listen if a team calls with an offer. If they can get a second-day draft pick for Cousins they should strongly consider jumping on it, given that they don’t have a first-round pick.
And what about Grossman? Will the veteran free agent follow Kyle Shanahan to Cleveland to spend a sixth season with the Redskins’ former offensive coordinator? Would he be willing to come back for a team-friendly contract? Or will the Redskins move on from him?
Tarik El-Bashir and I will take a look a Grossman’s prospects in this afternoon’s outlook question.