Tony Dungy: 'I'm not sure Kirk Cousins wouldn't run offense better' than RGIII
Two losses. That's how long it took the football world to launch into a seemingly inevitable, full-fledged discussion on this question: Should the Redskins replace a rusty Robert Griffin III at quarterback?
"I'm not sure Kirk Cousins wouldn't run this offense better," NBC's Tony Dungy said during a weather delay of Sunday night's 49ers-Seahawks game. Dungy made that comment after pointing out how Griffin has been relegated to staying in the pocket, either by blitzes from opposing defenses or his own physical limitations in coming back from that injury.
Dungy's colleague, ex-NFL star Rodney Harrison agreed, arguing that a fully healthy Kirk Cousins would be an upgrade over "a 75 percent RGIII."
For the second straight week, Griffin struggled in the first half of a Washington loss -- this time he posted a 42.8 rating and fired an interception as Green Bay opened a 24-0 halftime lead. As he did in Week 1 against Philadelphia, Griffin settled himself but too late, with the Packers cruising to a 38-20 win.
"If we’re not starting fast, it’s my fault," Griffin said after the game. "I’m not afraid to sit here and say, 'Put that on my shoulders.' I’ll take that. We didn’t start fast because of me."
Griffin, of course, sat out the preseason as the Redskins eased him back from last year's knee injury. With zero live snaps until Week 1, Griffin has been tentative and noticeably less explosive than during his phenomenal 2012 season.
Last season, he ran the ball 120 times for 815 yards and seven touchdowns. Through two weeks of the 2012 season, he has carried the football nine times for 25 yards -- a 2.8 yards-per-carry average. And though he took just one sack Sunday, Green Bay blitzed him consistently throughout the game, a tactic often avoided by defenses last season for fear of Griffin breaking contain.
That said, assuming Cousins would magically fix all that ails Washington might be misguided. He did lead the Redskins to a road win at Cleveland late last season, but that was his lone NFL start until getting the nod in Washington's first two preseason games.
The concerns over Griffin's health -- however reasonable and valid they may be -- also overlook that Washington's defense has been shredded in each of the first two weeks. Philadelphia hung 26 first-half points on the Redskins last week, and Aaron Rodgers threw for a career-high 480 yards Sunday.
One more note: Washington started 3-6 last season before running off seven straight wins to close the year, so coming out of the gates a little slow is nothing new. But Griffin raised the bar for himself with a magical 2012, and the expectations were that he would return to form in 2013. That he has struggled to do so while looking like a rickety version of his former self is worrisome enough, apparently, for people to begin calling for Plan B.