ASHBURN, Va. -- The situation is settled for now -- Robert Griffin III will be the Washington Redskins' starting quarterback. Jay Gruden wants it to be settled later as well.
The Redskins coach has made it clear this offseason that Griffin will open as the starter. But Gruden, and even general manager Scot McCloughan, have made it clear that Griffin must play well to keep his job.
Gruden and the Redskins were burned last season by an inability to either find, or settle on, a starter. They went from Griffin to Kirk Cousins because of an injury; Cousins to Colt McCoy via benching; back to a healthy Griffin, back to McCoy via benching and then to Griffin after another injury.
If the Redskins want to really take a jump this season, then solving this position is of utmost importance. It would help if Griffin improves -- he’s had a second straight healthy offseason along with another year in Gruden’s offense. If not, then the Redskins will have to turn elsewhere. At some points last season, team officials admitted deciding on a starting quarterback was like pulling names out of a hat. Each one offers something; each one has flaws.
“We still have got to play games and all that stuff,” Gruden said. “We have announced Robert as the starter obviously, and we’re going to go from there.”
That’s not new; they’ve said all along Griffin must play well to keep the job. How long the leash is remains anyone’s guess. Again, it’s up to Griffin’s performance. It remains the No. 1 storyline to watch in training camp and going forward, because of the ramifications. Last season, it was clear Gruden wanted more from Griffin and became frustrated. But it was also clear he wanted more from each of the quarterbacks -- the Redskins were 1-6 when Griffin started and played the whole game; they were 3-6 when he did not (he started a win over Jacksonville, but left with the game tied, and mopped up in a loss to St. Louis).
Gruden still sounds like a coach who believes this competition is over.
“We would like to have stability. The receivers want stability, and that’s very important,” Gruden said. “I feel good about all three quarterbacks honestly and their progression. But we do need to settle on one -- it would be nice to settle on one. So it will have a positive influence on the receivers if we can settle on one so they can get the continuity and feel good about where they are going and all that.
“Really when you’re talking about schematics of an offense, you’re talking about route discipline and all that stuff. It shouldn’t matter. They should be where they’re supposed to be and the ball should be delivered on time, no matter who it is, and that’s what we’re trying to get the consistency of the position so the receivers feel good about where they’re going and they’re going to get the ball.”