Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Dec 2013

Redskins Bench RGIII For Kirk Cousins

Guys, you do know you don't have your own first-round pick, right? Has anyone brought this up to you yet?

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 11 Dec 2013

66 comments, Last at 15 Dec 2013, 4:47pm by mud


by krugerindustria... :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 6:08pm

If you remove all of the 'shanahanagans' of the last week, isn't this a move that might actually make sense? RG3 is not right, or at least, not going to be right enough for it to matter for the Washington FC this year. This move gives the opportunity to showcase Cousins and maybe make a deal that allows them to receive a pick instead of giving them all away.

by RickD :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:40pm

Exactly. If you put the egos aside, it's clear both that RG3 hasn't completely recovered from the ACL tear, and that he's getting hit a half dozen or more times every game.

And they really should try to move Cousins in the offseason. Their roster is thin and it doesn't make sense to have so many holes but have a high quality backup QB who is sitting on the bench.

by jklps :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 6:18pm

Does not matter. Redskins are 0-4 in division, have games vs Dallas and NYG left. Best chance is this weekend @ Atlanta but it's an away game.

Nobody to throw the ball to besides Garcon, Jordan Reed should just stay out of it too.

Worst thing possible is not losing all the games - it is RG3 getting hurt in remaining three pointless games and not getting the first offseason of his career with the team to practice.

There is no point to get "game reps" right now - the offense will be different and the players won't be the same. Nothing to be learned, need RG3 to take a step back, ensure health and get to work in the offseason. I don't know why everyone who are not fans of the team(sadly, I hate being one) don't see this.

Team decisions by Washington do not matter anymore. The only thing that can solve things is Dan Snyder stepping away. Since that won't happen, does LA have any interest in the team?

by AnonymousBoob (not verified) :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 1:56am

What has Snyder done to impact the Shanahan regime? He has been completely hands off. In fact, he was with Gibbs as well. quite frankly, Snyder is getting a bad rep simply because the Redskins aren't very good these days. He's been fine as an owner for about the past half decade.

by dryheat :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 8:34am

Maybe. If he's been cutting the nuts off his Head Coach by behind the scenes communications with Bob, than he's in fact a terrible owner still.

I don't know why any well-regarded coach would ever work for those egomaniacs in Dallas and Washington. Regardless, this has been fun to watch. This must be what a pyromaniac feels like watching a warehouse burn.

by CBPodge :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 8:50am

Nice try Dan Snyder.

by apk3000 :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 8:56am

The controversy du jour is that Snyder is too chummy with RG3, setting up the possibility that Griffin can go above Shanahan to get things done his way. Whether he's actually done so isn't known, but have the idea that star players can complain directly to the owner isn't good, kind of like some NBA teams where the star players have way more power than coaches.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 10:30am

"Whether he's actually done so isn't known, but have the idea that star players can complain directly to the owner isn't good"

-citation needed-

by apk3000 :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 11:46am

For? I said that there aren't any suggestions that RG3 has actually tried to bypass Shanahan. If you want people saying players and owners shouldn't be buddies, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2013/12/09/dan-snyd...

by AT (not verified) :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 1:29pm

Sorry, you are the victim of a concerted PR campaign launched by Snyder to rehabilitate his image. You have no idea how hands-on or hands-off he is, except for what you read in the Washington media, which he's been buttering up and feeding feel-good stories for the past few years. In fact, there was a story after Shanahan's first season about Snyder berating him like a child, in public, at a restaurant, at a meal with Donovan McNabb's agent during that failed QB episode.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 1:34pm

To think that Redskins fans had Marty Schottenheimer in the franchise, what, 14 years ago, and could have had perhaps about 8-10 playoff appearances, if he had just been left alone.

by RickD :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:42pm

And with 8-10 playoff appearances, they might even have won a game!

by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 8:02pm

I sometimes wish Pats fans could have the learning experience entailed in a few missed field goal attempts.

by RickD :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 10:45pm

Life didn't start in the 21st century. Some of us remember the 70s and 80s.

But not the early 90s, thanks to the Tyrell Corporation. Or maybe it was Recall.

by Whatev :: Fri, 12/13/2013 - 4:55am

Well, keep in mind that it took Red Sox fans less than a year to forget that they'd spent most of the previous 80+ years losing and start acting like winning was their birthright.

by dryheat :: Fri, 12/13/2013 - 9:22am

Yeah, I found that curious. For most of my childhood and adolescence, the Patriots weren't good enough to have wins and losses settled by a field goal.

by MC2 :: Sat, 12/14/2013 - 7:20pm

Try telling that to Don Shula...

by AnonymousBoob (not verified) :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:02pm

And where did that story originate? I would presume from the media, no?

I am a Skins fan and have lived through the pain of the Snyder era. However, what is occurring since at least Cerrato was fired is nothing like the beginnings of his tenure. This has been a Shanahan-Allen production, not a Snyder one. Whether or not that's a good thing remains to be seen.

Quite frankly, the redskins aren't in bad shape presuming RG III can become a consistent, solid, and healthy NFL QB. They have a ton of cap space upcoming and have the semblance of some young talent. While missing next year's #1 is a blow, I think they will be just fine.

The Snyder of old did things like keep Norv around for ever, hire Jim Zorn, and refuse to get a real football mind as a GM. I don't see any of those types of actions in the past 2-3 seasons.

by RickD :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:47pm

It just seems so unlikely that Snyder hasn't been buddying up to RG3. That's such a Snyder thing to do. And RG3 in a way that suggests that he thinks he and Shanahan are co-equals. He's had numerous press conferences in which he talks about how it's hard for him to learn how to "trust" his head coach. I really find that bizarre language for him to use. It indicates that he doesn't feel like Shanahan is really his boss. If Snyder had been giving him perks and privileges and had interfered with how Shanahan was trying to manage his QB, that would explain a lot of that.

by CBPodge :: Fri, 12/13/2013 - 5:28am

I'm really looking forward to the stories next offseason about "this is the Snyder of old, making huge free agent signings".

by CBPodge :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 6:09pm

Hmmm. Should Jeff Fisher be worried about his job security? Shanahan seems to be doing more to improve the Rams than Fisher this year.

by theslothook :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 6:16pm

I wonder if Skins fans have seriously considered that RG3 may actually be a bust. Once you strip away his insane athleticism, can play at a high level from the pocket? I don't watch the skins enough to answer that question, but its a very fair question to ask.

by Never Surrender :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 7:21pm

I have watched enough to answer that question. Yes, he can; the potential is certainly there.

by mikeyt (not verified) :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 8:55pm

Yes, Griffin has the ability if he's healthy. The real issue is the lack of stability in the knee. The man can't even plant his foot and step into the throw correctly. He's slinging the ball flat-footed, using only his arm, which will never work. Shanahan has mishandled this situation all around. Can we seriously consider that John Elway and Terrell Davis may have made Mike Shanahan, rather than the other way around?

by PaddyPat :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 11:46pm

Shanahan's zone blocking running scheme (not sure exactly how much of it should be credited to him) continued to be effective steadily without Davis--Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Clinton Portis. He had other playoff teams, did well with Jake Plummer and Cutler. He has shown good offensive coaching capability and has coached solid teams throughout his career. I see little brilliance in his career--solidity, lots of good decisions mixed with some bad, mixed game management... a decent coach. On the other hand, this stint in Washington tends to suggest that Shanahan has grown hubristic and myopic over the years and has probably fallen off in overall coaching ability as a result.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 1:36am

Redskins have the #4 rushing DVOA in the league this year, even with the empty husk of RG3 at QB.

by RickD :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:51pm

Yes, I think it's clear that the scheme isn't the issue. This is the scheme that led the NFL in both yards/carry and yards/pass attempt last season. RG3 is clearly less mobile and less stable than he was last season, and his accuracy is noticeably down.
I think one could expect the offense to return to form next year.

But the defense has gotten much worse under the present regime, and the special teams are historically awful. I don't think Shanahan has ever learned how to coach a defense to stop the modern passing game. It's the same problem he had in his last few years in Denver. Well, in Denver it was the rush defense, I think. But basically Shanahan has turned an above-average defense into a very bad one in his four years.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 7:50pm

"but basically Shanahan has turned an above-average defense into a very bad one in his four years."

If he did, it was only indirectly, by refusing to fire Jim Haslett.

by RickD :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 10:47pm

Or by hiring him in the first place. Or by bringing in players who just aren't very good.

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 7:01pm

We'll know it's really the end for RG3rd String when Kirk Cousins starts advertising for Subway.

by James-London :: Wed, 12/11/2013 - 8:50pm

Best case: Cousins lights it up for three games and someone trades a 1st/2nd for him this year.
Worst case: Cousins stinks and the Rams get the #2 pick.

What's not to like?

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

by Mash Wilson :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 12:42am

I have a sick feeling that the Redskins have already permanently ruined Griffin by letting him play this year. His mechanics are a disgusting mess. He needs to rest until the knee is 100% healed, then invest God knows how much time in re-learning how to properly drop back, move within the pocket, and throw a football. He needs intense personal coaching in this regard, and is employed by one of the last organizations in the NFL you'd trust to be smart enough to properly arrange it for him.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 1:33am

This is a legit worry. He's shown flashes ov brilliance this year, but overall he's looked totally out of control, flailing about like a rag doll more often. Dude doesn't even know how to slide properly.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 1:30am

Only 14 weeks too late!

The 'Skins have massive potential next year, considering the $36MILLION cap hit they took for following the rules to the letter (but disrespecting Goodell, apparently). They will be able to fix their special teams and also add talent wherever else it's needed. They've been playing essentially with a Manning on the salary cap but without him on the field the past two years, and they still won the division last year!

If you're a pessimist about how well they'll be able to spend that extra cap money, name one overpriced FA they've signed since Shanahan signed on. People said Garcon was overpriced, but he's preformed like a bona fide #1 receiver.

by AnonymousBoob (not verified) :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 2:00am

Agreed. The cap hit is 95% of the problem with their ST IMO. You can't maintain any depth in the league when you are working with that kind of limitation. They got royally screwed by the league and it has shown up big time in ST this season.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 1:30pm

When you are a franchise with a fairly recent history of contributing about 50 million to the "Pizza, Doritos, Beer, 60 inch flatscreen, and a Laz-y-Boy for Albert Haynesworth Fund", it is not predictable that greatly improving the cap situation will actually improve the football team.

by AnonymousBoob (not verified) :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:10pm

The Skins haven't been a major player in free agency since Allen came on board. Garcon was an overspend, but not an albatross. Beyond that, you can't point to a real awful contract they have signed. That could be due to the cap penalties of the uncapped year, but it is my belief that Snyder has allowed Allen free reign in building this football team.

We'll see next season, but I expect the Skins to be much improved on ST and def, primarily due to the ability to pay for quality depth and ST talent.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:31pm

You may be right, but Dan Snyder has the potential to destroy the good work of a GM in the blink of an eye.

by AnonymousBoob (not verified) :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:59pm

Don't disagree. Maybe it's my Skins fandom that is hoping he has turned the corner.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 1:19pm

Can we please end the notion that Goodell's desires are a significant factor? It was the other 30 owners who put the hammer down on Danny and Ol'Jerrell. Goodell is a creature of his employers, and two of the employers decided that not filing a lawsuit against their other thirty partners, in a ridiculously profitable cartel, was the better part of valor.

by RickD :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:58pm

The thinking in DC is that this penalty was driven by John Mara, the owner of the Giants. He is (was?) the chair of the Management Committee. And they managed to impose strict punishments on two of his teams' divisional opponents: the Cowboys and the Redskins.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 10:26pm

30 teams played by an unwritten rule, two didn't. The two gambled that they could get away with it, but the 30 got them back for it in the end. However you feel about the whole business, I don't see the need to look for hidden storylines.

The man with no sig

by RickD :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 10:52pm

So now we're running a business by "unwritten rules"?

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but it seems like the Cowboys and Redskins have paid a far stiffer penalty than the Broncos did after they were found to have violated salary cap rules while winning the Super Bowl in the '90s.

Not really seeing how having Mara chair this committee counts as "hidden" anything. It's a conflict of interest staring us in the face.

by tuluse :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 11:34pm

No they didn't pay a stiffer penalty. The "penalty" that got applied was the cap space they would have lost had the salary cap not gone away.

by Noah Arkadia :: Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:41pm

I'm not running a business by unwritten rules or by any other rules. But these guys sure did! It happens a lot in big business among competitors, actually.

Like I said, it was a pretty straight-forward affair. I don't think it mattered who ran the committee, the other 30 weren't about to let it slide if they could help it. Whoever ran it wasn't going to rule it wasn't fair to judge them by an unwritten rule, trust me.

The man with no sig

by Never Surrender :: Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:48am

Not to mention Mara came out after the fact and arrogantly talked about how lucky the Redskins were to get off with only the cap penalty and not also lose draft picks.

by applefake (not verified) :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 8:51am

RG3 is not an accurate passer this season. Frankly, he should have been pulled early in the season. Even though I am not a Shanahan admirer, he is the head coach and deserves the respect and support that his position deserves.

If you have watched RG3 perform this season, as I have numerous times, his pocket passing performance is widely inconsistent. As a matter of reference, just look at his statistics this season.

It is disheartening to see the entire season as a dissapointment since the coaching staff did not decide to pull this 2nd year quarterback quicker.

by duh :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 9:09am

Perhaps that is part of the issue here, perhaps the coaching staff wanted to pull RG3 sooner but were told they shouldn't by the guy signing the checks.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 1:23pm

That would not surprise me in the least, nor would it if Shanahan eventually quits if Snyder won't fire him, and then files a grievance against Snyder to recover the full value of the contract, based up Snyder continually breaching the provision that gave Shanahan full autonomy in personnel matters.

by AnonymousBoob (not verified) :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 5:26pm

I do not believe Shanahan has a contract that allows him control of all personnel matters. I could be wrong but I think Allen has authority for personnel decision.

Again could be wrong but that was my impression.

by RickD :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 6:01pm

I'm pretty sure Shanahan has the last say on who will actually be playing. That's not typically a GM duty, and certainly a high profile coach like Shanahan would demand it before taking the job.

And I'm pretty sure he did.

by Hurt Bones :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 7:33pm

In fact Shanahan has does have full control over all personnel matters. Now that it looks like Shanny's time is at an end, Washington fans can hope for improvement in that department, but it does all depend on who will be making the personnel decisions in the future. And that could also be very worrisome.

by nath :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 9:49am

So Shanahan left RG3 in when he was clearly hurt and blamed it on RG3 and the team doctors.

Now he's benching RG3 and claiming he cares about his health, when he likely is either trying to prove how good he and Kyle's hand-picked QB, Kirk Cousins, is, or he's actively trying to get fired.

What a mess. Shanahan should never have another head-coaching job after this.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 1:25pm

I really hope it ends in a legal debacle, just so I can read the depositions from all parties, as to who demanded or decided what, at which time.

by jds :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 2:35pm

That would be tremendous!, although unlikely to happen. I am sure Snyder will just pay up. He doesn't want to be called "the new Al Davis".

by dryheat :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 3:58pm

Why not? At least Al Davis knew football, and knew it as well as anybody before senility hit.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 10:43am

I'm astonished that some people are suggesting RG3 might be a bust after one outstanding year and one dissappointing year (the dissappointing year includes 60% completion and 7 yards per attempt...not exactly embarrassing). You need a much larger sample size than this to even begin to answer that question.

Also, having a defense and special teams that doesn't constantly hand big leads to the opposition would he helpful.

by CBPodge :: Fri, 12/13/2013 - 5:37am

I'm also astonished that people think there's going to be a QB controversy next year in Washington. Cousins is ok. As a sophomore fourth round pick, he's probably actually excellent. But he's no RG3.

by Anonymouse (not verified) :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 4:24pm

1. The Redskins are an ineffective football team.
2. Assigning blame is not an effective problem solving or management strategy.
3. The Redskins respond to their ineffectiveness by assigning blame.
4. Therefore, the Redskins are an ineffective football team.

Repeat times infinity.

by RickD :: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 11:04pm

Now the guys on NFL Network are saying that the "real story" is that RG3 is being benched for performance reasons, not to preserve his health.

Somebody associated with the Redskins has had his hands full anonymously attacking RG3 in recent weeks. Shanahan insisted that he doesn't give anonymous stuff like this to reporters, but I don't know if we can really take that explanation at face value.

by Mash Wilson :: Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:35am

That's what assistants and interns are for.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Fri, 12/13/2013 - 12:41am

Shanahan has a history of this shit. The same sort of shit was going on at the end of his time in Denver.

by CBPodge :: Fri, 12/13/2013 - 5:39am

Twist: it's actually RG3, trying to make his position untenable and get out of Washington.

I think the Rams should trade their own first round pick for him...

by Red Hedgehog :: Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:25am

So much for my hope of Washington upsetting Dallas.

by mud (not verified) :: Sun, 12/15/2013 - 4:45pm

is it possible the problem with rg3 is not physical? and while i reahe looks like he has no plan lots of times and is incredibly indecisive. that's anecdotal but surely it's not pushing the limitations of his arm on 3rd and 3 after morris gets 7 the first two downs. because from what i watched, that was all the redskins really needed for most drives; a guy that could make a quick decision and get 3-6 yards, or make a quick decision and get 10-12.

he is putting up big numbers in my dynasty league, but so much of it is garbage time and i am looking to deal him this offseason.

by mud (not verified) :: Sun, 12/15/2013 - 4:47pm

sorry about that gaffe....that was supposed to be "while i realize he is recovering from an acl injury, he looks..."