- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 4, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I can’t figure out if team president Bruce Allen is the good cop, coach Jay Gruden is the bad cop, or they are just all Keystone Cops at Redskins Park.
Here’s what Allen told reporters recently about the decision to pick up often-injured Robert Griffin III’s fifth-year option on his contract.

“We think Robert is a starting quarterback. We’ve seen him win. We’ve seen him win big games. We know his talent. It really was a no-brainer. I think if you asked us six months before, it would have been the same decision.”

First of all, two words that should never be spoken at Redskins Park: No brainer.

Secondly, six months ago, as Allen proclaimed, Griffin was sitting on the bench, out of a starting job because of poor performance, and watching Colt McCoy, who started the season as a clipboard holder, complete 31 of 47 passes for 392 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

Yet, if we are to believe Allen, they would have made the decision to pick up Griffin’s fifth-year option while he was benched in favor of the guy who began the season as the third-string quarterback.

That’s absurd and insulting. But here’s also what it is — unwavering commitment. A marriage vow to RG3. This is our guy. No qualifiers, no doubts.

It’s what the bad cop, Gruden, can’t do.

The commitment to Griffin appears to stick in Gruden’s throat like a chicken bone. Back at the NFL combine in February, he declared that Griffin would be the starting quarterback going into the season, and he’s been spitting the taste of those words out of his mouth ever since.

The latest came after organized team activities on Wednesday, when Gruden told reporters, “I think you need to have stability at the quarterback position. Obviously, everybody would like to have it. Unfortunately with Robert’s injury, and then Kirk [Cousins] had an opportunity, and we brought Colt [McCoy] in, and then back to Robert, and then we went back to Colt, and then back to Robert.

“You know, we would like to have stability,” he said. “The receivers want stability, and that’s very important. I feel good about all three quarterbacks honestly and their progression. But we do need to settle on one — it would be nice to settle on one.”

Now, if you listen to Allen, they have settled on one. Allen would have walked down to the visitor’s bench in Indianapolis, sat down with Griffin while he was watching McCoy play starting quarterback for the Redskins, and signed him to a fifth-year option that, if Griffin gets hurt this season and his future health is in question — a reasonable question, given two reconstructive knee surgeries and a dislocated ankle over the last five years — will cost the Redskins more than $16 million in 2016.

“Sign here, Robert. Don’t pay any attention to whoever that guy is out there on the field doing your job. Heck, I don’t even know his name.”

You don’t hear Allen mention McCoy — the only quarterback on last year’s roster who Gruden did not bench for performance reasons — or Cousins when he talks about Griffin.

Yet Gruden can’t help himself from qualifying nearly every answer that deals with Griffin at the starter. His answer on Wednesday about settling on a quarterback was confusing enough that a reporter revisited it and asked him if he is “settled” in trying to find one quarterback.

“Oh, yeah, I mean, we still have got to play games and all that stuff,” he said. “We have announced Robert as the starter obviously and we’re going to go from there.”

Last week, Griffin was asked about his reaction to being named the “starting” quarterback.

“Apparently, Jay felt like I was the best option that he had at quarterback, and I’m happy about that,” he told reporters. “We look forward to working together to help this team and lead this team in the right direction and create this culture change that we know we need to have.”

Apparently, though, there is “all that stuff” that Gruden mentioned that could get in the way.

Look, no matter what you may think of Bruce Allen, he knows how to tout the company line, and do it with a smile. Jay Gruden? Not so much.

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

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