Controversy is something the Redskins are familiar with, whether it has to do with the team’s name or things having to do with what’s going on on the field. The latest happened just days ago, when head coach Jay Gruden named QB Kirk Cousins as the starter for the 2015 season, and in essence benching QB Robert Griffin III, who came in with a lot of pomp and circumstance after the team selected him in the first round of the 2012 draft.
Neither quarterback was particularly good last season, as they split playing time with third-string QB Colt McCoy. Griffin began the season as the starter, but an injury forced him to the sidelines early in the year. He ended up playing in nine games — seven starts — and threw for 1,694 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions. Cousins had 1,710 yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions n six games, including five starts. In his four starts, McCoy threw for 1,057 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. WR DeSean Jackson put up decent numbers in his first season with the team, catching 56 passes for 1,169 yards and six touchdowns. WR Pierre Garcon had 68 receptions for 752 yards and three touchdowns. RB Alfred Morris had a disappointing season, running for 1,074 yards — the fewest yards in his three-year career — and eight touchdowns. The defense didn’t help the team’s cause in 2014, finishing 30th in the league.
While Cousins has been named the starter heading into the season, who knows how it will end up by the time the season ends in January. With all three quarterbacks still on the roster, anything could end up happening with this team. One reason the Redskins may be motivated to keep Griffin off the field is a clause in his contract that guarantees him a $16.1 million salary next year if he gets an injury this season that prevents him from playing in 2016. The less he plays this year, the lower the chance of him getting injured. Of course, the quarterback situation affects the rest of the team’s offense as well, potentially affecting the production you can expect to get out of the receivers and running backs. One guy to look out for is rookie RB Matt Jones, a third-round draft pick, who some think could have a breakout season in 2015.
Looking ahead to the schedule, the team begins the campaign with back-to-back home games against the Dolphins and Rams. Other notable games include a road game at the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots in Week 9 and a prime-time game at home against the division rival Cowboys in Week 13. The season wraps up with two straight divisional games on the road, at the Eagles and Cowboys. The Redskins won four games last season, and I’m not sure they’re going to be better than that this season. They may get an extra win or two, but that would be the absolute best I expect from them this saying. There’s just too much going on with that team off the field which, combined with not having one strong quarterback is too much to overcome for the team to have a successful season.