Washington Redskins

Redskins: Calling for Kirk Cousins Over Robert Griffin III Is Crazy

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 09:  Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins kneels down before he leads the team out onto the field before taking on the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on September 9, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Shae CroninCorrespondent ISeptember 20, 2013

We're really doing this, huh?

Limited offseason work, intense rehabilitation, no preseason action, two games into the regular season and less than 10 months removed from reconstructive knee surgery and people want to bring up the idea of the Washington Redskins benching Robert Griffin III in favor of Kirk Cousins.

We're such an absurd fanbase.

For starters, the Redskins are 0-2. That's two losses. One to the Eagles in Week 1, when the Redskins were completely caught off guard by Chip Kelly and his new offense in Philadelphia, and the other to the Packers in Green Bay, led by a pretty decent quarterback named Aaron Rodgers. Not excuses. Just facts.

Although the Redskins aren't exactly picking up where they left off last season when they ended the year with seven consecutive wins to claim the NFC East crown, there are still loads of football left to play.

Calling for a quarterback's head after two losses, two games and two outings isn't necessarily defensible. And, given the circumstances of that whole let's-open-both-your-knees-and-string-you-back-together-again procedure that Griffin underwent back in January, the thought of benching your team's best quarterback after two losses seems even more ridiculous.

Let's also not forget that Robert Griffin III is even more than just the team's quarterback.

While the game of football is a team sport relying on the willingness and determination of a collective group, there's also a business side to professional sports. And when it comes to the franchise representing football in the nation's capital, Griffin is the face. He's the TV talent, the commercial cool, the happy highlight, the glitz and the glamour that every football franchise desires.

Hence the reason team owner Dan Snyder and head coach Mike Shanahan were willing to ignore the hefty price tag to move up and draft Griffin last spring, focusing solely on what they'd be gaining in return.

And Griffin just so happens to be damn good on the football field too, throwing for 3,200 yards, 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions as a rookie a year ago. Combine those aspects—talent and marketability—with the 23-year-old's passion, dedication, work ethic and determination to be the best, and Griffin is the complete package.

But this team needs a KC12 "spark," right?

Does anyone recall the spark the Redskins and their fans received back in February when Griffin announced he was all in for Week 1? That just a month following a knife to each of his knees, the second-year quarterback was promising to work harder, longer and faster in order to return to his team and lead them into the 2013 season?

Although I admired Griffin's commitment, I didn't exactly expect to see him taking a snap come Week 1. Not only was his most recent surgery the second on the same ligament in less than four years, but I was also fearful Griffin had played hurt in the Redskins' final two regular-season games—that he damaged the knee, its ligaments, its tendons or something worse than had he just shut it down following the Baltimore game. 

I wasn't a doctor then, and I'm still not. But the thought of this team's newfound savior being damaged goods after just 17 games had me thinking all types of crazy things.

But here we are. And, regardless of some debating his health, Griffin being medically cleared by doctors plays a critical role in this whole discussion.

What we've seen from Griffin through two weeks of football following major knee surgery isn't a matter of well-being. Even the most cautious and overly concerned Redskins fan on the planet (the guy writing this) believes Griffin is healthy and at full strength.

But the quarterback's rehabilitation doesn't begin with surgery and end with physical therapy. After that, it's about regaining confidence, reacquainting yourself with guys falling and diving around your recently reconstructed knee, recalling your techniques and mechanics and reacclimatizing yourself with opposing defenses in real game action.

If anything, Griffin, through two weeks, has proven the ever-dubious rust factor for football players. He's shown that quarterbacks, despite their natural talent and ability, can encounter cobwebs after extended time off and may require additional time in order to re-polish and get back into the swing of things.

That's what we're seeing with Robert Griffin III. And to me, that doesn't warrant a call for backup Kirk Cousins.

Aug 19, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III participates in a workout prior to the Redskins game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A little over two months ago, Griffin referred to the team's plan to ease him back toward full-time duties as "Operation Patience."

What Griffin didn't mention was how long Operation Patience was going to last, nor did he comment on who exactly fell under the umbrella of its intention. And in that regard, maybe the fans need to adopt a similar mission of their own and stay the course.

Clearly, calling for the benching of your team's future after just two games following major knee surgery isn't a rational display of patience at all.

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