New Redskins GM Scot McCloughan aimed to improve nearly every position through the draft or via free agency. How has he done? Over the next couple of weeks, Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will examine and rate each group on the team. The ratings will be based on the quality of the players as compared to the rest of the league and, in particular, the division.
We’ll use a scale of 1 to 10. To receive a 10, a position group would need Pro-Bowl caliber starters and solid backups. A rating of 1 means the starters are aging and ineffective and there are no promising reserves in the pipeline.
Starter: Robert Griffin III
Reserves: Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy
Tandler: Two years ago it looked like the Redskins had a quarterback situation that would be the envy of the league. Griffin was coming off of one of the best rookie seasons ever for a quarterback, Cousins looked like he could start for half of the teams in the NFL and Rex Grossman, the third QB, had started a Super Bowl. Now, no team has more question marks at the most important position on the field. Griffin struggled mightily to adjust as a pocket passer in Jay Gruden’s offense. He also spent time on the bench due to a dislocated ankle and, after a few games back in the lineup, for performance reasons. Gruden said during minicamp that Griffin had taken “baby steps” towards getting better. That’s great but he needs some giant strides between now and September to get to where he needs to be. Both Cousins and McCoy played well at times last year but didn’t finish up their seasons well. Cousins was benched after a barrage of turnovers and a less-than-inspiring reaction to them. McCoy led the team to its best win of the year in Dallas but seemed to be overmatched at times after that. Perhaps Griffin will bounce back to at least competence and either McCoy or Cousins will gel into a solid, consistent backup. But for right now it’s hard to view it as anything but one of the worst quarterback situations in the league. Rating: 2
El-Bashir: It’s hard to argue with Tandler’s assessment. It really is. But there may be a glimmer of hope for optimistic fans to cling to until training camp begins. On Tuesday, Griffin produced his sharpest practice session of the offseason and afterward was praised by Gruden for it. The coach pointed to Griffin’s growing confidence in the pocket, his improving fundamentals and his “great” work ethic in OTAs. Gruden’s nurturing comments were notable mostly because they represented a departure from how he’s previously handled the fourth-year quarterback. So, in my opinion, Gruden either really liked what he's seen in recent weeks or, at the very least, he's attempting to adjust his approach to dealing with the fourth-year quarterback. (I actually suspect it was a little of both.) Last season, Gruden was often hard on Griffin—in private and public critiques—and it didn’t work. So I'm choosing to view what happened last Tuesday as a positive development for Griffin and his delicate relationship with Gruden. All that said, however, I also must caution even the most optimistic fans to not get too excited. It was just one no-contact practice and just one press conference. In mid-June, nonetheless. We probably won’t get a true feel for Griffin’s progress until Houston comes to Richmond later this summer and Griffin has J.J. Watt coming at him while he’s reading an unfamiliar defense. So let’s do this exercise again after the second joint practice with the Texans, okay? Rating: 3.