- The Washington Times - Monday, September 16, 2013


“I’m not going to point the finger at anybody else,” Robert Griffin III told reporters after his Washington Redskins lost 38-20 to the Green Bay Packers Sunday. “It doesn’t matter what goes on, on that field, I’m responsible for that. I’m the quarterback, everyone’s going to look at me, and that’s what I do. I have to take that.”

Well, that’s easy. If SuperBob is responsible for this 0-2 debacle of a season start, then put the other guy in. Replace the one-year starting NFL quarterback who was an executive producer of his own documentary with the one-year backup NFL quarterback who has already written a book.

I love RG3. I love Kirk. Start printing the bumper stickers.

This was always the danger of Mike Shanahan drafting Kirk Cousins, a highly regarded college quarterback, in the same draft as Robert Griffin III. This isn’t Chase Daniels, or even Rex Grossman. People think Kirk Cousins can play.

“I’m not sure Kirk Cousins wouldn’t run this offense better,” Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy said during a rain delay on NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast. His colleague, former Patriots Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison agreed, saying Cousins would be better than what he called a “75 percent RG3.”

If Cousins is better for what the Redskins are doing now — whether it’s the Shanahan offense or the Dr. James Andrews offense — that would be a disaster for the franchise, and the issue that has been dormant but always in the background since they drafted both quarterbacks last year would be a nuclear quarterback controversy.

SuperBob’s “Operation Patience” is still in play. The young quarterback, coming off his second knee surgery in four years, clearly has to play himself back into the form that made him such a dynamic player in his rookie season — or at least a close resemblance of that player.

Playing in preseason wasn’t an option. Dr. Andrews was not going to take the responsibility for final clearance for SuperBob to play in a meaningless game, nor was Shanahan. If SuperBob had gotten hurt in a preseason game, Dr. Andrews and Shanahan would be sharing a men’s room with Edward Snowden at the Moscow Airport. The fallout would have been career-ending in nature.

So SuperBob is going to have to use early part of the season to get back to form. There is no other option.

Starting Cousins isn’t an option in any case other than a SuperBob injury. What would happen if Cousins played well — very well — and the Redskins won not one, but several games? Do you then pull him when you think SuperBob is ready to get back on the field? Seriously?

How well do you think SuperBob would react to being a spectator because of performance reasons?

“Players play, so I wasn’t happy with the decision,” SuperBob said being benched following his knee injury in the Baltimore game last year and watching Cousins lead the Redskins to a 38-21 win over the Cleveland Browns. He made it known he wasn’t pleased.

No, this is the franchise quarterback here, the guy who sells the jerseys, fills the stadium and dines with the owner. Even if Shanahan — who already may be in a power struggle with Team SuperBob, given the absence of the offense they ran last year so far this season — believed they had a better chance against Detroit Sunday with Cousins at quarterback, he couldn’t make that decision.

Remember, promises were made. Words were given.

“At the end of the day, he gave me his word privately,” SuperBob said during training when speaking about Shanahan and SuperBob’s plan to be “all in” for week one. “When you give your word to somebody, that’s all you have.”

Promises, words, pledges, whatever was said in the negotiation between the coach and his quarterback did not likely include a provision for SuperBob to be benched if he wasn’t playing well.

This is what happens when you have Kirk Cousins as your backup quarterback. Reporters ask you if it might be time to sit SuperBob and play Cousins, as they did Monday afternoon at Shanahan’s press conference.

“No, no,” Shanahan said, laughing. “We’ve got a lot of confidence in Robert.”

It was perhaps amusing for a minute to think of the consequences — gallows humor.

Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 radio and espn980.com



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