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Looks Like Someone Has a Sixpack of the Mondays

The injury to Robert Griffin III has rocked our world--but so did Kirk Cousins' performance.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

1. From my seat at FedEx, the injury to Robert Griffin III appeared to have occurred out of bounds. We thought maybe he had hit his head against someone or something, leading to his staying down. If they showed a replay on the big screen of the ankle injury prior to Kirk Cousins coming in, I missed it. I did see #8 hurriedly warming up, and it was at that point that I began to wonder if the whole world was about to turn upside down.

2. I didn't process the substitution and all that it could mean in the first few seconds of Kirk's entry into the game...but definitely by the fourth or fifth second. It was insane. Griffin was literally still on the ground being tended to by medical personnel and the idea of a whole new era of Redskins football was bouncing around my brain. One touchdown pass later, and thoughts that are just straight-up silly became more real. Contract situations...scheme decisions...and we were right in the middle of a must-win game in the second week of the season against an opponent that some teams in the NFL could probably defeat with their third-string quarterback.

3. To suggest my mind was reeling would be an understatement. I am a huge fan of Robert Griffin and the electric nature of his game. I think he is capable of being successful in the league--he has shown he can be plenty effective. Is it possible that the best quarterback for our offense could be sitting two deep on our bench? Are these the kinds of thoughts that make sense to be having before you even know the extent of the injury to your starter? For all I knew, Griffin was going to shake off the cobwebs and get back in the game. For all I knew, the Kirk Cousins Era could have been all of a handful of plays. Still, it seemed like there was some part of me that was SCREAMING to embrace the initial wave of euphoria when we scored that touchdown, and all that symbolically accompanied it.

4. In the stands, news of the dislocated ankle traveled fast. Everyone hung their internet M.D.'s on display at that point, and drunken prognostications ranged from Griffin being out a few weeks to "he may never walk right again." Either way, Captain Kirk had the helm for the rest of this game. There would be no escaping it...the Scylla and Charybdis of our time...our version of Sonny or Billy...our course has been set. Next stop: quarterback controversy. Again, all of this is happening internally in my mind--likely many of your minds--as we began to lay it on Jacksonville.

5. I listened to the Jay Gruden presser after the game and here is what I did not hear:

  • I did not hear a guy who was devastated that he had just lost one of his best players;
  • I did not hear a guy who was heartbroken and lost, wondering what he was going to do without his starting quarterback;
  • I did not hear a guy who was upset that Kirk Cousins was potentially the future of this franchise.
I heard something in Jay Gruden's voice that made me think he was more than okay with the reality he found himself in. Part of that, I am sure, is the professionalism that Gruden possesses. Even though he is a rookie head coach, he has been around the block. He understands that injuries are part of the game and that coaches have to be prepared for injuries to strike at any position. He was kind to include that he did not mean to sound "cold-hearted" but he lives and breathes the "next man up" philosophy. Gruden mentioned that Kirk wants to play...that Kirk has been "itching for a chance" and that he was going to get that chance. Which leads me to...

6. No matter what the prognosis is for Robert Griffin's ankle, Kirk Cousins will be playing the role of "Redskins Starting Quarterback" for some period of time. I am CONVINCED that if he plays well--especially against division rivals Philadelphia and New York--there will be no change back to Griffin if he were to miraculously heal in time to play again this season. I am not ready to call Kirk Cousins the long-term answer at quarterback for remains to be seen just how bad Jacksonville actually is and how much they had to do with Captain Kirk's success. It remains to be seen how strong our defense actually is and whether or not we can shut down an opponent the way we slammed the door on the Jaguars. It is worth mentioning that this team did not lose heart when it lost its starting quarterback--please don't bombard the comments section saying that Griffin wasn't a leader--he may not be (or may not have been) the top leader on the squad, but he is a leader. If anything, there was the opposite of a drop off in play when Griffin went down. I am NOT suggesting that players were excited about Cousins playing or happy about the change at the signal-caller position. Those kinds of conspiracy theories will make their way out soon enough, without any assistance from me. My point is just that we held it together in the face of adversity. Not every team does that.

Bonus Thought: The two teams involved in the RG3 trade--the St. Louis Rams and the Washington Redskins--are both relying on quarterbacks that were not central to that deal. I would hold up that the Rams have developed a hell of a corps of young talent thanks to that trade as well as other deals and smart drafting in general, but if you want to give odds over playoff chances for either team, the Redskins would have to hold that edge. When the Rams and Redskins face off in Week 14, we could be looking at two teams going in different directions. The Rams could be playing out the string, gearing up to take a franchise quarterback in the 2015 draft. The Redskins MIGHT be showing signs of moving--with BOTH feet--into the Kirk Cousins Era.

Bonus Bonus Thought: In the days and weeks ahead, we will all get a chance to say, "I said it weeks ago..." or "I knew this would happen" or "I told you this was always going to be the outcome." Keep in mind...none of us ever rooted for an injury to sort out our quarterback situation. None of us rooted against RG3. None of us knows for sure how good Kirk Cousins can be.

We, as a fanbase, need to follow the example of the players on the field yesterday. We need to stay together and pull for the guys on the field. Even if Kirk lights the world on fire, we could be in for some dark days ahead if we can't stay focused on what is important. Let's root for Griffin to heal fully. Let's root for Cousins to perform at a high level. There are a million worse things than having two quarterbacks that can start for your team.