Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is reportedly in danger of losing his starting job, according to reports by NFL.com and ESPN.com Sunday. Both reports indicate that a decisive shift in power from Griffin to first-year head coach Jay Gruden could be the source of the quarterback’s murky job status.
Ahead of Washington’s matchup with the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said the Redskins front office are pulling back on some of the perks Griffin has enjoyed since the team selected him No. 2 overall in the 2012 draft. Griffin’s wife and family are reportedly no longer allowed to attend practices or freely roam the Redskins practice facility.
ESPN’s Chris Mortenson also reported that Gruden could even pull Griffin against the 49ers if he doesn’t show improvement. That means Colt McCoy, who’s 2-0 as a starter, would be inserted into the lineup.
Griffin has been limited to four games this season due to a dislocated left ankle injury he suffered in Week 2. Before the season began, the hope was Griffin would return to the form that won him Rookie of the Year honors three seasons ago. He set the league on fire with 3,200 passing yards and 20 touchdowns, while rushing for an additional 815 yards and seven scores and sending the Redskins to the postseason.
Instead, Griffin’s looked more human than otherworldly this year. He’s completed 72 percent of his passes for 763 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions, despite Washington adding dynamic receiver DeSean Jackson and having talented running back Alfred Morris already behind him in the backfield.
ESPN’s report also suggested that the way micro-managing team owner Daniel Snyder would react to Griffin’s benching is unknown. Snyder has long been a supporter of Griffin, publicly and privately, but Snyder also has to protect the player he acquired by trading away three first-round draft choices.
If Griffin’s job is on the line, he faces a huge roadblock in the 49ers defense. San Francisco owns one of the best defenses in the NFL, ranking fourth against the pass, sixth versus the run and holds opposing quarterbacks to a 74.3 passer rating, the second-best in the league.
The spat between Griffin and Gruden earlier this week might have been the first sign that the Redskins could go in another direction at quarterback. Though he was apologetic and regretted his statements later, Gruden publicly lashed out at Griffin after Washington’s 27-7 loss to Tampa Bay last week. Griffin didn’t take the full blame for the loss like many NFL quarterbacks do, and instead put some of the blame on this teammates. In response, Gruden seemed to pick apart all of Griffin’s shortcomings on the field, from his footwork to staring down receiver Pierre Garcon before throwing an interception, according to the Washington Post.