This article was inspired by multiple questions/comments I have received asking about whether Kirk Cousins has outplayed RGIII this off-season. This article is my attempt to silence the idea that there is a quarterback controversy brewing in Washington once and for all.
First of all, the Redskins invested heavily in Griffin to be their franchise quarterback for the next 10-15 years. You simply don't give up that much for a player and then give up on him after two years. New head coach Jay Gruden was recently quoted saying: "Robert Griffin III has the keys to this franchise in his hands, and he is going to take us a long way". How's that for a quarterback controversy?
As for Cousins "outplaying" Griffin, you have to consider a few things when analyzing this. Cousins is now completing his second full NFL offseason, something Griffin is in the process of completing for the first time. In other words, Cousins has gotten more reps than Griffin has entering their third year in the league. You also have to consider the fact that Cousins is competing against the second string defense that is far less skilled than the first string.
Finally, and most importantly, Griffin is transitioning to becoming more of a "Pocket Passer" who uses the threat of his legs to hurt defenses when the time is right, and continues to keep defenses worrying about his ability to always take off if they don't properly address his skill set (much like Aaron Rodgers). This is not an easy task, and it will take time for Griffin to fully develop as a pocket passer. Cousins, although faster than most people give him credit for, isn't a very mobile quarterback and has been a pocket passer his entire career. Therefore there's no real transition for Cousins to make.
Even in college, Griffin ran Art Briles' wide open spread offense that didn't require Griffin to make a ton of reads or work through his progressions, whereas Cousins played in a very pro style system at Michigan State. Once again giving Cousins a lot more experiences in these key areas than Griffin.
Because of Griffin's world class speed, he was (possibly too often) taught to take off when in trouble rather than throw the ball away or continue to work through his progressions. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I cannot stress enough that this will take time.
Due to Cousins' greater experience and lack of transition, it isn't surprising that he is more comfortable in Jay Gruden's offense than Griffin, but outplaying him? I don't think so.
Let's not forget the talent Griffin possesses. It's no coincidence that Griffin was the number two overall selection and Cousins lasted until the fourth round. Griffin is an athletic freak, a rare specimen, and could be leading the charge of the quarterback of the future. Mobile quarterbacks have taken over the league (see Kaepernick, Wilson, Newton etc.) and Griffin possesses all the skills to be this type of quarterback.
Let's also not forget the talent Griffin showed throughout the 2012 season. Yes Griffin had a down year in 2013, but he was never fully himself, the offensive line couldn't protect him, and the entire time imploded. Griffin is now attempting to learn a new offense, and adjust to his new targets, there will be some growing pains, but there is no doubt in my mind, or anyone in the Redskins organization's minds that Griffin gives the Redskins the best chance to win now, and especially in the future.
Griffin is the type of player you build a franchise around. Make no mistake about it, Gruden wanted to become the head coach of the Washington Redskins for one reason: Robert Griffin III. DeSean Jackson was attracted to Washington for ... well two reasons (Thanks Philly) RGIII.
Just to be clear, there is no quarterback controversy brewing in Washington. Griffin possesses all the skills throwing the ball and running to become a great quarterback in the NFL. It will take time, and it will be frustrating at times, but I can promise you one thing Robert Griffin the Third is the future of Redskins football, end of story.