Thursday, September 03, 2015

On the Ascent of Kirk Cousins

So Kirk Cousins, a Bobby Hoying for the new generation, is the starting quarterback for the Washington [insert less racist term here]s, not only for week 1 but for the entire season.

Based on available data, one can draw the conclusion that head coach Jay "My Ass Is Not Huge" Gruden deliberately hung Robert Griffin III out there in hopes that he would get clobbered, thus letting medical science absolve him of the responsibility of making the decision to sit Griffin down. Running an injured quarterback out there again and again in a preseason game behind a cheesecloth o-line that seems inclined to treat Griffin like Warren Beatty in "Heaven Can Wait" is borderline criminal negligence, deliberately exposing the guy to unrealistic risk of injury, even by the NFL's mutated standards.

And in the end, he got what it looks like he wanted: Griffin was hurt, then he was concussed, then he wasn't, then he was (more grist for the negative narrative around Griffin not being a team player or something) and so he didn't get the reps and, by golly, Cousins sure did pick up the offense better. That's the narrative the team threw out there, and that's the one sports talk radio ran with, and now it's all "CAN RGIII BE SAVED?"

My guess is, yes, you put him on a team with a coach who's not out to get him brutalized and in an offense that matches his strengths, and he has every chance of being a good NFL player. Keep him on a team with a coach who clearly wants nothing to do with him and an offense that veers away from the things he does well, and, well, you get sports talk radio fodder.

This is not to paint Griffin as a saint. He is, by numerous accounts, not an ideal teammate. But that doesn't excuse leaving him out there to get shellacked, particularly not with what we now know about long-term concussion effects.

This is not a coach any player with any self-regard should want to play for. And team that allows this is not a team that any player with any self-regard should want to play for. 
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