As creative as imaginations can be, no one imagined the 2014 playing out the way it did for the Washington Redskins. Jay Gruden was recruited to Washington for the sole purpose of taking Robert Griffin III to the next level......or so we thought. I can't imagine a scenario where Jay Gruden met with Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder and the two didn't harp on Robert Griffin III's development being priority number one. Yet after one full season with the team, the only consistency was inconsistency.
1. Kirk Cousins comes out of pre-season with the most praise.
2. Robert Griffin starts the season until he is hurt in Week 2.
3. Kirk Cousins replaces Griffin, starts hot then dive-bombs.
4. Colt McCoy replaces Cousins, leads Redskins to a win in relief then leads them to their biggest win of the season.
5. Robert Griffin replaces McCoy after said win, but only for a few weeks.
6. Colt McCoy is named starter over Griffin after poor showing.
7. McCoy gets hurt towards end of a game and Griffin comes in to play a few meaningless snaps.
8. Despite injury, McCoy still gets the next start and subsequently gets hurt which leads to Griffin finishing the game.
9. Robert Griffin finishes the season as the starter.
Needless to say, the quarterback carousel that occured behind center that sent Redskins fans on an emotional roller coaster not only lacked the development of a specific player, but exposed the lack of a developed plan. The juggling of the position, in addition to the team's direction, caused friction with the media who approached the situation like a circus. Because of all this, it was no surprise that a normal week in February became another thrill ride at the position.
The week started with news breaking that Kirk Cousins had gone down to Florida to work with Jon Gruden. At first glance, this seems like a brilliant move. With the way the CBA is worded, you can't have much contact with your coaches during the off-season and Cousins went to the one guy who has intricate knowledge of the playbook he needs to master to improve his chances of winning a starting job. Of course, Griffin-fans saw this as a cheap, "under-handed" move by Cousins to try and gain an advantage in the quarterback competition. I guarantee if it was Griffin who was discovered working with Jon Gruden, these same fans would call it "genius." Other fans simply laughed because contrary to popular belief, Jon Gruden really hasn't development many quarterbacks. Maybe you don't digest everything he says, but his knowledge of the playbook is invaluable. This was a good move.
Also this week, Mike Shanahan decided to finally break his silence and told his side of what happened that broke the relationship between him and Robert Griffin. A 1 hour and 35 minute lashing that'll make Justin Beiber's upcoming roast look like compliments. Mike Shanahan painted a picture of an egotistical quarterback who envied Kirk Cousins' ability to run a pro-style offense vs. Browns. When Robert Griffin left the lineup for that one game, so did the read-option and Griffin took that personally. It put stress on the coach/player relationship up until that ACL injury that ended Griffin's electric rookie year. This culminated in Griffin asking for a meeting where he told Mike Shanahan what plays were acceptable and unacceptable moving forward. It's a fascinating listen if you haven't done so yet. Many fans completely dismissed the story because it came from Mike Shanahan and "he lies." While there are three sides to a story (his, yours, and the truth), all three versions usually have the same basic concept when stripped down. While I think Mike was concerned about Griffin developing into a pocket-passer, I think Shanahan embelished his lack of support of the trade that netted them Robert Griffin III. I also think he over-played his concern with Robert Griffin's knee. I don't doubt he was concerned but I doubt his knee was the topic of the first three questions Shanahan asked everytime he approached Robert like he implied. What I have a hard time discounting is the BAL/CLE/PHI/DAL/SEA play-calling story and not because Mike Shanahan is a picture of honesty, but everything that has transpired in the last two years seems to support it. I'd love for Robert Grifiin to give his side because you know next time he's available to the media he'll be asked, but I highly doubt he does anything but dismiss the subject.
Meanwhile, when Mike Shanahan was busy poking needles in his Robert Griffin voodoo doll, Jay Gruden was arriving late for a combine press conference where he named Griffin his number one guy. Gruden cited reviewing all the games last season and because Griffin ended the season as the starter. The same tape that we reviewed here at Hogs Haven every week and got so bad one week that every single sports media outlet had a film guy breakdown how bad it was is now the reason Gruden can confidentally say Griffin is the number one guy? Okay. Gruden also mentioned Griffin ending the season as the starter. Well, you don't have to go any further than scrolling up to see how Griffin even became the guy to end the season as the starter. It looked like it was in spite of Gruden's best efforts. If Colt McCoy doesn't get hurt, Griffin might not see the field. When you add in the fact that Gruden said in his year-end presser that there would be an open QB competition, the double-speak is starting early this year.
Like I said, it's just another week in an off-season for a team that loves to keep things interesting off the field. 2015 is going to be another interesting ride, it's yet to be determined if it's the good kind or the bad kind.