If Robert Griffin III is the king of D.C.-area sports, then Kirk Cousins just became the prince.
Cousins relieved Griffin in spectacular fashion on the road against Cleveland, throwing for 329 yards and two touchdowns. He executed a flawless game plan full of bootlegs and play-action fakes that fueled the ‘Skins victory.
His Week 15 performance may have vaulted Washington into a playoff spot, but it did even more for Cousins.
He had one super audition that could land him a starting job somewhere else next season, as a USA Today article suggests.
Sooner or later, there will be calls to Washington's front office from quarterback-needy NFL teams to gauge Cousin’s trade value.
And the Redskins should approach trading their backup similar to dealing with drugs: just say no.
Given Robert Griffin III’s frequent visits to the injury list, Cousins’ services may be called upon multiple times in future seasons—as they already have been in 2012.
Griffin has the spectacular gifts of speed and elusiveness on the football field, and he would be unwise to stop using those talents. Unfortunately, using his abilities and being able to avoid injury is a tough balance to strike, one that often requires the mindset of a veteran.
Griffin claiming that he’ll be able to change his playing style (and someday this will happen) is like a NASCAR driver saying he won’t go full throttle. As when discussing Michael Vick ‘s prospective stats, the question that Griffin will need to answer is whether he is durable enough to put up big numbers.
It may be unjust to compare the two QBs, as Griffin is a much better pocket passer than Vick, but both QBs possess uncanny speed and quickness, attributes that they should utilize.
This all comes back to Cousins.
The ‘Skins would benefit from having a signal-caller who knows the offense and has been able to execute their game plan in the past. It would certainly help the Shanahans sleep at night.
After all, they don’t want to end up like Chicago did last year.
The Bears were well on their way to a playoff berth, until Jay Cutler broke his thumb and was lost for the season. Chicago's backup plan wasn’t good enough for the team to do better than 1-5 down the stretch, causing the Bears to fall out of the playoff race.
The offers of high draft choices will start coming through the phone, but Washington needs to hold off until they see how Griffin adjusts on the field.
With a solid backup QB in place, the ‘Skins should avoid the annual NFL casualty list for years to come.