Washington head coach Jay Gruden confirmed Wednesday that Colt McCoy will start at quarterback instead of Robert Griffin III on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post. That backs up an earlier report from ESPN's Adam Schefter that Griffin had been benched for McCoy in Week 13. Gruden also said that Griffin will be act as the team's No. 2 quarterback, putting him ahead of Kirk Cousins on the depth chart.
According to Schefter's report, Griffin remains in the team's "long-term plan." In the short term, however, Albert Breer of NFL Network reported that Washington plans to stick with McCoy for the rest of the season. Unless he struggles, Griffin will not start another game in 2014.
Gruden took a shot at Griffin last week, after the quarterback seemingly took a jab at teammates following Washington's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 11 (never mind that Griffin heaped considerably more criticism on himself). Gruden said that "Robert needs to worry about himself" in response to Griffin's "it takes 11 men" comment.
Griffin's poor play -- combined with the seemingly daily distractions that followed him -- may have worn down Washington's front office. It likely helped that McCoy has proven he can be a viable alternative. The backup led Washington to two of its three wins in his only two appearances this season. His second appearance was a start, in which he went 25-for-30 passing for 299 yards and an interception in a win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Griffin has been benched in the past, but only under the pretense of injury. This move is the first time he has been sent to the sideline due to poor play, possibly signifying the Washington front office may be growing weary of the quarterback. Reports late last season suggested that Griffin received preferential treatment in the Washington locker room. That no longer appears to be the case.
Gruden reportedly informed the team Wednesday morning that McCoy would get the start, though before Washington's roster had been apprised of any changes, long snapper Nick Sundberg took to Twitter to express his frustration.