Robert Griffin III Benched For Kirk Cousins
Mike Shanahan has done the unthinkable. According to ESPN’s John Keim, Shanahan has opted to bench Washington ‘Skins QB Robert Griffin III in favor of Kirk Cousins for the remaining three games of the season.
“I've got to do what's best for the organization,” Shanahan said. “If we feel the best thing for the organization is doing that for Robert, then hopefully Robert will understand why we're doing it. We're doing it because he's a franchise quarterback and we want him to be able to go into the offseason and get full preparation and be ready for next year rather than playing one of the next three games and all of a sudden he sets himself back with a possible injury, whatever that may be.”
Cousins played well in place of Griffin when he had to sit out due to injury last season, and the team will get a good look at what they have in Cousins over the final three games of the regular season. While it’s hard to see Cousins replacing Griffin behind center full time, it’s certainly not out of the question if he plays well enough.
Team owner Dan Snyder may not be intervening in Shanahan’s decision, but he may very well axe Shanahan when the season comes to a close. Shanahan is still under contract for another year, and he’s owed $7 million in the final year of his deal. He has a 24-37 record in Washington, and despite last year’s incredible run to the playoffs, this season has been an unmitigated disaster.
“You always want to come back,” Shanahan said. “I love these [players]. At the end of the season we'll get a chance, Dan and I, to sit down and decide — he'll make the final decision — on what's in the best interest of the Washington Redskins. I'll give my opinion on what I think. Obviously he'll make the final decision. ... We've got guys working extremely hard, so I would like nothing more than to be with them.”
Shanahan did contradict himself as to why he was planning on benching Griffin. He cited RGIII’s long-term health, but it was only a few weeks ago that he said it was important for Griffin to get more snaps. Griffin may not be the same electric player he was last year, but he hasn’t aggravated or re-injured his ACL injury despite all the hits that he has taken this season.
There has been some speculation that Shanahan is benching Griffin in an attempt to force Snyder’s hand in firing him. Without probable cause, Shanahan would get to walk away with $7 million in his pocket. Whatever Shanahan’s true motivations behind benching Griffin are, with the way things have transpired in Washington, it appears that it’s only a matter of time before Shanahan is given his walking papers.