It is true that developing Kirk Cousins serves the Washington Redskins organization in a variety of obvious ways.
It is true that protecting Robert Griffin III from the very real danger of missing a second consecutive offseason of work with his teammates serves the Washington Redskins in a variety of obvious ways.
It is true that Mike Shanahan has incredibly logical reasons to make these decisions that don't necessarily include self-serving reasons.
Still, I can't say it more clearly than I did in the title. Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins organization looked at the offensive line that they were forcing Griffin to play behind and decided that the probability of a catastrophic injury was TOO GREAT to keep him on the field. Based on the highlight reel of hits that opposing defenses have produced, the fact of the matter is that this move serves the organization extremely well.
Now, setting aside for a moment all the acrimony--real or perceived--between Shanahan and the franchise (Snyder), I see this move as one that serves Shanahan as the future coach of this team. It might be the longest shot since Lucas put on shoulder pads and a helmet, but what head coach entering a contract year would not want his franchise quarterback 100% healthy and coming off a full offseason of work? You guys have called me worse things than crazy, but isn't it possible that the whole shitstorm that moved into the DC metro area over the last few weeks is at least partly driven by our love of shitstorms?
Listen, the writing on the wall says that Shanny is out of here. It also says to call Kevin for a good time, though, so how much stock do you want to put into this wall? You can say that Shanny made this move to stick it to the owner. You can say he is making this move to prove a point. You can say he is making this move because he is trying to force his way out of town. We are Redskins fans...this kind of immature nonsense is commonplace enough for all of it to be plausible.
Still...to me, the message is loud and it is clear: the organization is SCARED TO DEATH to put an elite athlete with a great deal of potential behind the current offensive line for one more play. If I was Kirk Cousins, on one hand I would be ecstatic to get the chance to start. On the other hand, wouldn't I have to feel at least partly offended that the coaching staff has no problem putting me (and not Rex Grossman) behind that sieve we call an offensive line?
The salary cap penalty and the lack of first round picks has certainly contributed to the inability to stock our line with talent. Fair enough. If we had a better offensive line, this decision might not be made--if we had a better offensive line, we likely would not be in this position.
This move will be called many things, and many of the assessments will be proven to be spot on. Let's not let the most important aspect of this decision slip away here: the organization is openly admitting that its offensive line is so bad, it can't afford to put a guy with a future behind it. To me, this is real progress. How many times over the last 20 years have we been sold a bill of goods, with little to no recognition on the part of the team to own up to the shoddiness of what we were forced to watch?
It is my hope that this decision is the first in a series of steps that leads to MAJOR reconstruction along the offensive line. My initial hopes were that we could shoot for the stars and replace three starters on the line (Chris Chester and Trent Williams being the holdovers). The decision to bench Griffin makes me think that we could aim higher, leaving only Trent as the sole returning starter in 2014.
When you declare that it is not safe to put your top player on the field, you are saying a lot. Here's hoping that this team does not stop with words when it comes to addressing the worst offensive line in the league.