Washington could be without its franchise quarterback for an extended period -- possibly the remainder of the season -- after Robert Griffin III dislocated his ankle on Sunday. That doesn't disrupt the plans of head coach Jay Gruden, according to a recent report by Mike Wise of The Washington Post -- in fact, it's about as convenient as could be.
Wise cites an unnamed team source familiar with Gruden's line of thinking that claims the first-year head coach believes backup quarterback Kirk Cousins is a better fit for his offense, but that political factors were preventing Gruden from making a change under center. Griffin's injury, which reports have indicated could sideline him for anywhere from four weeks to the rest of the season, reportedly allows Gruden to make the change without fracturing the fan base or upsetting owner Dan Snyder, who forced out Mike Shanahan last season in part because of his inability to coexist with the star quarterback.
"According to the person with knowledge of Gruden's thinking, he actually believed Cousins could succeed in the system better than Griffin but also acutely understood it was going to be near impossible to make a change," Wise writes.
A more traditional drop-back passer, Cousins was brilliant in relief of Griffin Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, throwing for 250 yards and two touchdowns in the 41-10 win. The 2012 fourth-round pick started four games last year after Shanahan shelved Griffin at the end of the season.
All things being even, Wise claims, Cousins may have already won the starting job in Washington.
"Let's not sugarcoat the past two months," he writes. "Gruden was having a hard time getting Griffin to grasp the principles of the drop-back passing system he was teaching. If Cousins and Griffin had come to camp as undrafted rookies, Cousins may have opened the season as the starter.
In the post game press conference, Gruden said he was confident in Cousins, who "obviously has a skill set that I feel like is very much suited for what we do." He stopped short of making any comparisons to Griffin, whose injury he said "we're sick about."