Months ago when Redskins coach Jay Gruden announced that Washington would start Kirk Cousins at quarterback instead of Robert Griffin III, many fans and media alike expected a firestorm to follow. RG3 won't be able to handle the bench, the thinking went, and will be a disruption to Gruden, Cousins and the Redskins.
13 weeks into the season, and that theory couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, Griffin has been a good teammate and even better person.
In an MMQB.com feature on Cousins, the story of the Redskins QB telling his teammates about his father's battle with cancer emerged. In the story, Cousins explained that Griffin told his replacement that he would pray for his father.
"This is about more than football," Griffin said in the story.
Indeed, it appears Griffin's 2015 season will go down as one about very little football. The 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year has not taken a regular season snap through 12 weeks, and barring injuries to Cousins and Colt McCoy, seems unlikely to see the field all year. With a potential $16 million injury payment hovering, the Redskins would be foolish to play RG3 unless circumstances completely dictated the move.
And despite the benching and much talk about his work ethic, his film study and his place in the locker room, Griffin has maintained a calm, quiet dignity throughout the year. He goes to practice, works out and participates in charitable works with the team. Talk to people in Ashburn about Griffin this season, and it's hard to find a negative word. Walk the sidelines on gameday or enter the locker room after a Redskins game - win or loss - and RG3 is hardly visible except for supporting teammates.
The reality is a player that has only been active once in 11 games should be a good, supportive teammate, but consider the baggage and circumstances surrounding Griffin's 2015 season, and it's obvious things could have gone much different.
A quick look at Griffin's social media accounts, once a source of much consternation, reveal a family man with a penchant for Baylor football. Nothing controversial. And what about those reports earlier this year that Griffin and Cousins could not be in the same room? Based on the MMQB piece, which reveals both QBs attend prayer group regularly, that seems nonsensical.
The Redskins are in first place in the NFC East, thanks in significant part to a solid season from Cousins. Griffin has done nothing to slow that progress, while both visibly and behind the scenes supporting his teammate. When the Redskins fielded a depleted secondary a few games into the season, the former franchise QB ran scout team safety in practice. Prior to a game against Cam Newton, Griffin ran scout team QB to show the Washington defense similar looks as the team would face against Carolina.
Griffin remains a lightning rod. Undoubtedly, some RG3 critics will read this and refute every word. Regardless of the Redskins improvement this season, some RG3 zealots maintain he still should start over Cousins. Clearly an athlete cognizant of his image, it's possible RG3 has laid low on purpose, en effort to prepare for life after the Redskins.
What is undeniable, however, is that RG3 has proven himself a good teammate this season. In past years, particularly the end of the Mike Shanahan era and at times in Gruden's first season, Griffin shared culpability in his and the team's undoing. A young man used to nothing but success, Griffin often said too much.
This season, that is not the case, on or off the field.