Gruden’s QB Carousel hasn’t Helped Redskins Offense


Dec 7, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy (16) stands with head coach Jay Gruden (left) and offensive coordinator Sean McVay during the first half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

After a fifth straight loss the Washington Redskins’ record dropped to 3-10 and with three divisional games remaining, fans could be looking at another 13 loss season.  Where did it all go wrong? There was great anticipation at the beginning of the year with a healthy Robert Griffin III supposedly ready to recapture his 2012 form.

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Some decent acquisitions, particularly the signing of DeSean Jackson also promised much, certainly on the offensive side of the ball.  The weapons at RG3’s disposal matched up with any team in the league and with a strong running game to support him, we all expected the Redskins to put up many points.

While a disappointing defeat in the season opener to last year’s worst team Houston was a shock, the fact we only scored six points was a surprise, but we could put that down to RG3 being rusty after a long time out.  A blow out win over the Jaguars and a strong showing against the Eagles.

Scoring 41 and 34 points in those games respectively boded well for the rest of the season, despite RG3 dislocating his ankle.  Kirk Cousins stepped up with two quality performances and the defense was rated in the top ten so it was reasonable to still be optimistic even at 1-2.

The game against the Giants however, was probably one of the worst games I can recall watching.  The Redskins were inept in every department and capitulating like that to one of our division rivals was especially hard to swallow.  To see an unheard of TE toast us for three touchdowns was demoralizing.

The worrying thing is, we are still seeing opposing tight ends run the seam routes, straight down the field, and be wide open (see Coby Fleener and Jared Cook in our last two games).  Three straight losses dropped us to 1-5 and with RG3 injured on the sideline, our hopes were with Cousins.

But he struggled with turnovers, much like Rex Grossman did before him.  Maybe it was the move to the #8 jersey that awoke some sort of curse.  Cousins was replaced by #3 QB Colt McCoy who led us to a come from behind win over the Titans including a 70 yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon with his first pass.

He followed this with a sterling effort, supported it has to be said by a dominating defensive display, to lead the Redskins to a road victory over the rival Cowboys. But instead of being a springboard to a strong finish and maybe even a playoff push, this was the highlight and peak of the season.

RG3 was cleared to play the next game, against the Vikings.  I wrote at the time that I wanted Colt to start that game as the bye week followed, which would give Robert Griffin III two more weeks to ensure his fitness and to get more repetitions with the first team.

However, Colt was demoted to #2 with RG3 starting and Cousins inactive.  But after a good start, the Redskins defense imploded, allowing the Vikings to take the lead late in the game. While the Redskins defense failed to hold their lead, the Vikings defense made the plays needed to preserve their narrow three-point victory.

Then the Redskins confidence seemed to plummet, leading to a five game skid, including another embarrassing loss to the then 1-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and most recently a shut out to the Rams.  So what are the issues? Is it the QB play or the part-forced, part-choice QB carousel?

Looking at the stats, our running game has struggled at times and our pass protection has recently been almost non-existent, suffering 29 sacks in that five game streak. That’s a sack for every seven drop-backs. That’ll lose you a lot of football games.

Jay Gruden puts it down to a range of issues such as running backs not blocking, or QBs holding the ball too long.  And true those things haven’t helped.  But neither has Jay Gruden’s recent choices to go back and forth with the Redskins starting quarterbacks.