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Kirk Cousins To Start Over RGIII

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Read into it however you want, but Robert Griffin III is getting benched this week.

Kirk Cousins To Start Over RGIII

Reports surfaced today (and were confirmed by ESPN's John Keim) that the Washington Redskins will bench Robert Griffin III this Sunday for their game against the Atlanta Falcons. Kirk Cousins will start, and according to NFL.com's Jeff Darlington, players were notified that Rex Grossman will be the backup. Griffin will be inactive for the game, and he likely won't play the rest of the season even though there is no apparent sign of injury.

The Washington Post's Mark Maske reported that the plan to bench Griffin is a tentative one, at least as far as the remainder of the season goes. Head Coach Mike Shanahan was noncommittal on whether it would be a permanent move, but was considering it based on the number of hits Griffin has absorbed over the past five games (24 sacks). The fact that he is now inactive this week, though, leads one to think the move will stick for the final three games.

Griffin has underperformed this year compared to his sterling rookie campaign. Last year, Griffin threw for 3,200 yards at a 65% completion percentage with a 20/5 TD/INT ratio. This year, Griffin has already topped 3,200 yards in just 13 starts, but his completion percentage has plummeted. He's thrown 63 more passes already than he did in all of 2012, and as a result his completion percentage dropped while his interceptions increased (60% and 12, respectively). He's also been sacked eight more times this year than last year in two fewer games (38).

The biggest difference in Griffin's game this year has been his decreased scrambling. Last year he nearly rushed for over 800 yards and seven scores. This season, he has only rushed for 489 yards and hasn't scored a rushing touchdown while seeing a decrease in his YPC. There has to be a connection between that and his knee injury from last season.

The entire season has been a disaster for the Redskins. They sit at 3-10 and have the second-worst record in all of football after going 10-6 last year. The coaching situation is up in the air with doubts about whether Shanahan will be back next season or not. Owner Dan Snyder allegedly has been interfering with the decision-making when it comes to personnel and has consistently made headlines for the wrong reasons all season. This is the just the latest move showing what a mess this franchise is right now. I really don't know what to make of it, but benching RGIII now, even in the sake of preservation, seems odd.

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