Joe Theismann made big news during the Redskins-Ravens preseason game when he declared Kirk Cousins Washington's best quarterback throughout the 2014 preseason, adding it's no contest Cousins has outplayed Robert Griffin III. Tuesday morning Theismann appeared on the Dan Patrick radio show with the chance to explain his comments, and he did not back down from his assessment that Cousins is outplaying Griffin, but he did clarify what it meant for the 2014 Redskins season.
"In the preseason, because of the way it’s been constructed, there's no question Kirk has played and looked better," Theismann said.
The numbers support Theismann's claim.
Against Baltimore, Cousins threw for two touchdowns and no picks, while Griffin struggled, couldn't get the Redskins offense in the end zone for the third straight game, and added an interception. But what Theismann went on to explain is that this preseason is a time for Griffin to get comfortable in the pocket, not put up highlight numbers.
"When you look at the preseason Robert is adjusting and learning how to be a pocket passer. You can see that," Theismann said. "Kirk came out of college as one, and has always been one."
Cousins game is better suited for what the Redskins are running in the preseason, Theismann said. But when the regular season starts, he expects Redskins coach Jay Gruden to tailor the offense more to the strengths of RG3.
"This offense will morph into something that compliments [Griffin's] skill-set as far as being able to break the pocket and get outside," he said.
Asked directly which quarterback gives Washington the best chance to win throughout the 2014 season, Thiesmann chose RG3.
"The element that we haven’t seen in preseason, and the element Robert brings, is like Colin Kaepernick, is like Cam Newton, they have incredible abilities, and Russell Wilson, to make plays with their legs that no one else has," Theismann said. "If you look at the 20 throws that Robert has made, most of them have been out of the pocket, which is a learning process for him. I'm sure, and Jay has said this, he’s never had an athlete like Robert."
One thing Theismann reiterated was that there is no quarterback controversy.
"There's no competition here. Robert Griffin III is the starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins."
As much as Kirk Cousins has made it clear he would like a chance to compete for a starting job, whether in Washington or elsewhere, there is no contest now. When Redskins fans have been able to get past the Cousins/RG3 dynamic, another area of criticism that comes up is Griffin's decision making on the run. RG3 too often takes big hits, refuses to slide, or doesn't get out of bounds with the ball in his hands.
Theismann believes Griffin has vastly improved in that area, and it showed in the game against the Ravens. In the game prior against Cleveland, Theismann thinks Griffin bought into the hype of his matchup with Johnny Manziel, and wanted to show his running skill.
"Robert is a very interesting, smart very attuned athlete, but there's a competitive side of him that says I have to win in every environment," Theismann explained. "It’s something he’s going to have to fight to protect himself."
The matchup against Manziel had Griffin "hyped up like a heavyweight fight," Theismann said, and maybe that excitement led to a few runs where RG3 took too many hits.
With the Redskins starters likely done for the preseason, Griffin's next action will probably come against Houston in Week 1. If the preseason served as a learning experience for RG3 to grow comfortable in the pocket, J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and the Texans defense will surely provide a strong first test.