Depending on who you ask, coach Mike Shanahan is either throwing down the gauntlet in his efforts to have team owner Dan Snyder fire him, or he is legitimately shutting down RG3 because of concerns about his health.
We're convinced it's the former; if Shanahan was so worried about Griffin's wellbeing, why didn't he bench him in last January's playoff game against the Seahawks after Griffin reaggravated a knee injury and spent the second half limping around the field? Or more recently, why did Shanny let RG3 play in Week 1 against the Eagles when he was clearly less than 100 percent?
On Wednesday afternoon, the Redskins' new starter, Kirk Cousins, spoke to the media. Guess what he was asked about?
"I'm going to submit to the authorities above me," the second-year quarterback said about his current standing atop the depth chart.
As for RG3 now the No. 3 quarterback, Cousins added: "Robert is a competitor. It's tough for him to have to sit down ... He wants to be out there but I think he's handling it with a lot of maturity,"
Like everyone else watching, jaw agape, Cousins concedes that the situation is "unique."
"This is not my first time facing adversity," he said. "To get to this point has not been an easy path ... I think that is a great opportunity to show what I'm capable of. Football's a team game. This is about the Washington Redskins."
But Cousins also said that "This is Robert's team. He is the franchise quarterback. My job is to help this team get a win against Atlanta."
It's not clear if Shanahan still shares this contention. Either way, the coach has put Cousins is in an awkward spot. Which is ironic insomuch as coaches are forever preaching the importance of the team but Shanahan apparently has little trouble abandoning that mantra to protect his own self interests, whatever they may be.
Feel sorry for Kirk Cousins, a truly great kid with plenty of promise, for getting his chance to start under these warped circumstances...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 11, 2013
He'll work his tail off and look at it as a wonderful opportunity, but he too is a pawn in this standoff between a coach and an owner— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 11, 2013
Good news: At least one person on the planet thinks Shanahan's intentions are "admirable" (!): Former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann.
“Robert's made some decisions in games that just haven't allowed the football team to progress and win a football game, but every quarterback does that,” Theismann said Wednesday morning on ESPN Radio (via Sports Bog). “I admire what Mike is doing. I mean, it's speculation that he's going to be gone [next season]. And when you lose as many games as the Redskins have lost, there's a chance that he will be gone. But what he's doing is he's trying to protect the franchise quarterback, a guy he drafted, to give him a chance to be able to have an offseason to go to work.
“So I think it's somewhat admirable that he's trying to protect the franchise and this young man from the beating that he's taken over the last five weeks,” Theismann continued. “But then I ask myself the question, how does Kirk Cousins feel? You're saving Robert for the offseason, and YOU'RE going out there. And then the next thing that comes up is what happens if Kirk Cousins plays very well, because remember who they're playing. An Atlanta Falcons team that's given up 360 points. A Cowboys team that defensively is very porous, and a Giants team….They're not playing the Seattle Seahawks, the San Francisco 49ers, the Kansas City Chiefs or the Denver Broncos. So the chances are that that Kirk could place quite well in this game, and then we have a WHOLE another conversation when the offseason comes around.”