Bobby Lemaire, Sports Editor
There is a controversy brewing in Washington D.C. and it has nothing to do with Congress, the president or the federal government in general. The major question being asked on all of the sports talk radio in the nation’s capital is, “Who should be the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins?” The two men fighting over this job are Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins.
Heading into the 2012 draft, Washington was coming off a disappointing season and was looking to turn their franchise woes around. General Manager Bruce Allen made a trade that altered franchise history for years to come. He traded three first round draft picks (2012, 2013, 2014) and a second rounder (2012) to the St. Louis Rams for the second overall pick of the 2012 draft. With this pick the Redskins ended up drafting Griffin III, a dual-threat quarterback out of Baylor University. “RGIII” was coming off a stellar season in which he took home the 2011 Heisman trophy, being named the best player in college football. But many experts and fans alike were questioning this trade. There is no denying Griffin’s raw talent, but was getting a quarterback with injury concerns (he suffered a torn ACL in 2009) for four top-tier draft picks over a three-year stretch a smart trade?
Then, in the fourth round of the same draft, the Redskins selected Cousins out of Michigan State. There wasn’t as much hype after the pick, but the Redskins were looking for a solid backup who could fill in if necessary.
In 2012, Griffin took the NFL by storm. He had 20 passing touchdowns and only five interceptions. He also ran for seven touchdowns, forcing opposing defenses to keep an eye on him in case he tried running for a first down. In his rookie year, Griffin led Washington to a 10-6 record and brought them to the playoffs. But in the 2012 Divisional Round game against the Seattle Seahawks, he tore his ACL and was forced to sit out the rest of the game, ending the team’s season.
In 2013, Griffin returned to the starting lineup, but was never able to return to his previous superstar form. He looked unsure of his abilities as both a passer and runner. He then suffered a thigh injury, forcing him to miss five games. In Griffin’s absence, Cousins threw for four touchdowns and seven interceptions.
As this season began, people were starting to question Griffin’s ability to stay healthy. Then, in Washington’s Week 2 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Griffin dislocated his ankle, forcing him to miss more time. This time, Cousins seemed to be ready. In three game,s he has thrown for six touchdowns and five interceptions. Cousins did struggle in his Week 4 matchup against the Giants, throwing four interceptions. While Griffin is expected to miss multiple weeks as his ankle heals, Cousins has his chance to show that he should be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season.
But what happens when Griffin returns? Since the franchise has invested so much in the success of “RGIII,” will they be able to keep him on the bench for the long run or even try to trade him? Cousins has shown promise as a starting NFL quarterback. He has patiently waited for his time and has shined alongside the elite quarterbacks of the NFL. The Redskins need to keep Cousins as their starting quarterback. There is less risk of future injury and the Washington fan base is ready for a new era to begin.