There are two schools of thought about how to proceed. One is that Griffin continues to quarterback the team and work his way back into shape, letting wins and losses come where they may. The other is to let reserve quarterback Kirk Cousins step in, as TV analyst Tony Dungy suggested, and allow Griffin to recuperate on his own pace.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan attempted to end the debate Monday when he said Griffin will remain the starter.
Most glaring in Griffin’s game this year is that he’s not running the ball. Clearly, opposing teams have adjusted defensive schemes to limit his ability to break free and ramble down the field. Last season he picked up 820 yards on the ground, averaging just under 7 yards per carry. In his first two games this season, he’s had nine carries for 25 cards, or about 2.8 yards per attempt.
Defenses have attacked Washington differently, blitzing at every opportunity. Furthermore, running isn’t an option when you’ve fallen behind by a couple of touchdowns. Worse yet, Griffin has become a punching bag – getting sacked four times and hit 13 in two games. Simply, the team’s offensive line play has been inept.
The former Heisman Trophy winner didn’t play in any of Washington’s pre-season games, suggesting someone didn’t believe he was ready or thought giving him a few snaps was too risky. With little opportunity to workout with the team in the offseason and no action in the preseason, why should anyone expect him to play at a high level once the regular season play began?
In last season’s playoff loss to Seattle, Griffin looked like an easy target as his protection broke down and he was swarmed by the Seahawks’ defense, finally leaving the game. It was hard to watch. Same for the start of the 2013 season.