The Washington Redskins’ quarterback position has been a mess in 2014. Robert Griffin was the starter until he got hurt. Kirk Cousins was the answer until he was awful. Colt McCoy was the next-best option until Griffin got healthy. Griffin was the starter (again) until he struggled so badly that coach Jay Gruden decided to pull the plug. Now, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it will be former third-stringer McCoy getting the starting nod this coming weekend in a trip to Indianapolis.
After 11 games, Griffin has started five times, Cousins has started five games, and McCoy has started once. Over that span, Washington is an abysmal 3-8, a record good for a last-place tie in the NFC East with the Giants. The bigger issue, outside of a 2014 season that’s already basically lost, is where Washington goes from here. The team’s brain trust gave up a king’s ransom in a deal with St. Louis to move up and take RG3 in 2012, and then doubled down on quarterbacks by selecting Kirk Cousins in the fourth round of that same year’s draft. Fast forward 31 months or so, and the quarterback situation is anything but settled. Is McCoy, who’s already on his third NFL franchise, the long-term answer? Will Washington go back to RG3, the apparent face of the franchise not so long ago, and try once again to develop a talented player that Washington clearly has so much invested in? Will the quarterback carousel spin back around to Cousins at some point in time?
It’s long been said that “If you have two quarterbacks, you really have none.” That cliché also applies, perhaps even more so, if you have three quarterbacks. It’s no secret that Gruden and company need to get better play from that position (as evidenced by the 13 interceptions and 13 touchdowns, a strikingly poor ratio compared to Washington opponents, who have thrown 21 scores and only four picks). And, while Washington needs to figure out not only who its 2014 starting quarterback is going to be, but who its 2015 starter should be as well, the Redskins are far from the only team in the NFL with a merry-go-round under center.
Here are three other teams that desperately need some quarterback stability. Our advice: Stop following Washington’s example — just pick a guy and stick with him, already. Please.
The Bucs handed their starting QB job to then-rookie Mike Glennon early in the 2013 season, but Glennon had to prove himself all over again this year when coach Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht took over. The new regime didn’t waste any time in the offseason signing ex-Bear Josh McCown to a two-year, $10 million deal and naming him the starter over Glennon. However, McCown struggled early, and his thumb injury in Week 3 opened the door for Glennon. The second-year pro won his 2014 debut against Pittsburgh before falling off over his next four starts, and Smith finally turned back to McCown in early November. Now, the Bucs are 2-9 with zero quarterbacks playing well (as a team, Tampa Bay has completed less than 59% of its passes this season) and will likely be in the market for a first-round QB in the 2015 draft.
Like Washington, the New York Jets have also been in the news this week for their indecisiveness when it comes to quarterback personnel. New York started 2013 second-round pick Geno Smith in the first eight games of the 2014 season, but seven losses in a row (including a horrific three-interception first quarter against Buffalo on October 26) forced Jets coach Rex Ryan to turn to veteran backup Michael Vick. Vick has started each of the last three games, at least winning one of them, but an embarrassing 38-3 blowout loss to the Bills Sunday has apparently given Ryan another change of heart. The team announced this morning that Smith will be the guy when 2-9 New York hosts Miami Monday night. (Of course, with Jets quarterbacks only completing 55% of their passes, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, and saddled with a cumulative 67.4 passer rating, does it really matter who New York plays at this point?)
The Rams are another team that’s had a revolving door at quarterback so far in 2014, as Jeff Fisher’s ball club hasn’t been able to compensate for losing starter Sam Bradford to a preseason knee injury. Shaun Hill, the next man up, got hurt in the season opener against Minnesota, and Austin Davis played well in relief. Fisher decided to give the reins to Davis for the long term, but the long term ended up only lasting eight starts. (So much for Brett Favre putting Davis in the same breath as Tom Brady and Kurt Warner.) Once Davis struggled, Fisher made the move back to Hill…how long will that last before the 4-7 Rams change QBs yet again? It can’t be easy for a player on the Rams (or really, on any of these four teams) to show up to work not knowing who’s going to be calling the signals that weekend, so we’ll say it one more time: Pick a quarterback and stick with him.