The Washington Redskins are planning to start Colt McCoy over Robert Griffin III this Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, a team source said Tuesday night.
While Griffin is not a part of Washington’s plan for Sunday’s game, he still appears to be a significant part of the Redskins’ long-term plan, according to another source.
Yet right now, the Redskins are hitting the reset button, though it might not last long, a source cautioned, as Washington has high hopes for the coming offseason.
For the first time since it surrendered three first-round picks and one second-round pick for the right to draft Griffin, the Redskins will have their full allotment of picks in addition to room under the salary cap. That means behind owner Dan Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen, the team will be positioned to strike this offseason, spend big-time dollars and improve its roster.
Also, Washington hired head coach Jay Gruden in large part for his stellar work with quarterbacks, and the team is convinced coaching, cash and patience can help turn Griffin back into the player who won the Heisman Trophy and Offensive Rookie of the Year in back-to-back seasons.
But for now, it has been a battle. Griffin is coming off his most challenging NFL outing at San Francisco, where he was battered in the pocket and struggled when he did have time to throw during a 17-13 loss to the 49ers. That showing forced Washington to consider a change that is expected to become official Wednesday, when Gruden meets with reporters.
On Monday, Gruden said he intended to start Griffin against the Colts, but never fully committed to it.
Griffin is scheduled to meet with the media in a previously scheduled news conference at 11:30 a.m., though it is uncertain whether he still will speak then.
This move represents yet another turn for Griffin and the Redskins. As a rookie he threw for 3,200 yards and rushed for 815 as the Redskins won their first NFC East title since 1999.
But since then he’s dealt with major knee surgery, a fractured relationship with his first coach, Mike Shanahan, and questions about his leadership. This year, under Gruden, the concerns have been about his on-field development. Griffin lost some time to develop when he dislocated his left ankle in Week 2, sidelining him for six games.
McCoy helped rally the Redskins to a 19-17 win over Tennessee on Oct. 20 and followed that a week later in his first start with a win at Dallas on Monday Night Football. In those two games McCoy completed a combined 36-of-42 passes for 427 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
But, with Griffin healthy, the Redskins returned him to the starting lineup against Minnesota. Griffin’s numbers weren’t bad: He threw for 251 yards and a touchdown in a 29-26 loss to the Vikings. But a week later against Tampa Bay, Griffin was off all game. His numbers weren’t horrible as he completed 23-of-32 passes for 207 yards. But he missed open targets and threw two interceptions — the first because he passed up an open receiver, according to the coaches, and the second because he stared down his target.
Worse, Griffin was sacked six times and has been sacked 16 times overall since his return. The coaches viewed that in part as a function of his inability to develop as a pocket passer.