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Robert Griffin Named Redskins February

Is it ever too early to declare an oft-injured quarterback that has yet to establish himself in the league as the team's starter?

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

I didn't even know there was a game this week.

To suggest there aren't reasons supporting both naming and not naming a starter at this point would be foolish--all of those reasons exist. Naming Griffin the starter at this point of the year certainly helps the organization dodge months and months of intense media scrutiny over who will win the job. I know we here at Hogs Haven were investing heavily in our graphics department to come up with the proper way to track who was in the lead at any given second from now until September.

Naming Griffin the starter in mid-February sets a clear path for a franchise that has had incredible difficulty finding, uhhhh, paths. I think we can all appreciate the semblance of a plan, and I know we can all applaud commitment to a course of action. Too many times, the Redskins have been that car in the middle of a busy intersection with its brake lights locked in that super bright red "OH SHIT!" setting. Having an idea of where you are going before you get to that point doesn't just save time, it saves lives y'all! Then again, calling the ball in February like Jay Gruden did yesterday might make them the car that puts its blinker on for no discernible reason...miles ahead of any possible turn.

We all understand that when it comes to physical gifts, Griffin is the clear frontrunner. He brings things to the table that nobody else on the roster (at the quarterback position) does, but at the same time, those gifts have worked against him. When it comes to gifts in general, nobody gave them to opposing defenses the way Kirk Cousins did when he got a chance last season. As for Colt McCoy, let's just be honest: there probably isn't a single head coach in the NFL that would be willing to risk his career by naming him the starter on Valentine's Day. That doesn't mean he can't play or that there isn't an opportunity for him to remain employed in this league. It just means that he isn't marriage material right now.

When I saw the news slide across the ticker, I was pretty shocked. All at once, these thoughts occurred to me:

  • Does McLovin' think that by naming RG3 the starter now, his trade value is somehow enhanced?
  • Does Jay Gruden really think that Griffin gives him his best chance to not be the next in a long line of short-timers on the Washington sideline?
  • Was that really Dan Snyder wearing a Jay Gruden costume making the announcement?
  • I wonder if Kirk Cousins is watching the announcement with Jon Gruden?
This is a classic "This shouldn't be that big of a deal, but the Redskins can't order breakfast without it creating some kind of controversy or media stir" situation. Of course we are going to freak out about naming someone the starting quarterback for our team. IT'S WHAT WE DO!!

Maybe that is part of the genius of this decision. Think about it. This move definitely clears the minefield at least a little. If there are any teams interested in either Griffin or Cousins, this announcement brackets the thought process of what it would take to put a deal together. Finally, a fully healthy Griffin (allegedly) has a full offseason to work--as the starter--in preparation for the most important year in his pro career. If Jay Gruden is tasked with maximizing RG3's value, this move is probably necessary. You want to equip a player with as much as you can in the offseason to set him up for as much success as possible. In this case, they are equipping him with confidence. On the flip side, if he loses the job at any point from here through the fall, it creates an extremely straightforward exit strategy for the franchise.

As for Kirk Cousins, my hope is that this wasn't news to him. Working out with Jon Gruden still serves him well. He might not be in the pole position coming into training camp, but races are won all the time by cars that don't get the primo starting spot. Some players might even prefer it this way. No announcement can stop him from improving his game, and I think we should all believe that Jay Gruden will play the best guy in September. If anything, putting the pressure on Griffin's shoulders now might benefit Cousins, as it creates a ton of distance between the announcement and training camp. If Cousins is really the better player, the coaching staff has the benefit of reversing a decision it made five months prior, as opposed to reversing one made on the eve of camp. Further, with Cousins cuddling up with Jon Gruden, the chances that good news about his progress and status as a potential starter being disseminated to general managers around the league are very good. If he has ever had any trade value, it likely won't ever be as high as it will when someone calls Jon Gruden to ask about his offseason work.

It's going to be an exciting spring!!