Cooley: Griffin shouldn't be on field

ASHBURN, Va. -- Former Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley still views Robert Griffin III as the future of the franchise. He also sees him as someone who should not be playing.

Cooley said on ESPN980 radio that Griffin’s progress does not warrant him playing the rest of the season. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan benched Griffin for the rest of the season in favor of Kirk Cousins. In practice Wednesday, Cousins worked with the first team and Rex Grossman with the backups.

There could be a number of reasons for this: A desire to keep Griffin healthy for the offseason; a parting shot from Shanahan to both owner Dan Snyder and Griffin; a desire from Shanahan to get himself fired.

But for Cooley it’s simple.

“Robert shouldn’t be on the field at this point in the season,” Cooley said. “It’s not only because of his health, but in his developmental progress he is regressing. He goes out and gets worse every week and I think it’s going to continue to hurt his confidence.”

That doesn’t mean Cooley is down on Griffin’s future.

“I believe he's a guy that's going to be very good,” Cooley said. “And I think he's shown us over the first year, and I think he's shown us over parts of this year, that he can grow, that he can develop. He's a smart kid. But I don't think he's doing that at this point in the season, and I think you only hinder his progress and you also increase his chances of getting hurt through the rest of the year if you have him out there.”

Playing Cousins could result in another draft pick. The Redskins lack a first-round pick in 2014.

“Because of this cap-hit situation, they're lacking talent overall. You see a pretty poor defense, and ultimately it comes down to team speed,” Cooley said. “So if you get a second-round pick out of Kirk Cousins, you're going to go ahead and take that. Robert is the franchise. He's the guy who is going to be the future. You're going to continue in whatever shape or form to develop around him.”