Former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann recently sparked a firestorm by suggesting that, if his old team had an open competition at quarterback, Kirk Cousins would win the job over Robert Griffin III.
“Let’s stop beating around the bush,” Theismann, a color analyst working for the team, said during Washington’s third preseason game, via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. “Kirk Cousins has played much better at the quarterback position than Robert Griffin III has. Now, Robert is learning to work out of a pocket. He doesn’t look as smooth or as comfortable throwing the football. I mean, your eyes will tell you everything you need to know.
“It’s going to be a decision that Jay Gruden is going to have to make. Right now, Robert Griffin III is his quarterback. Now, if there was a quarterback competition, it wouldn’t be a competition. Kirk Cousins would be the man I believe he would have to go to, because of the efficiency with which he has run [the offense]. Now Kirk, like I said, is basically a drop-back quarterback. I see Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, I see Kirk Cousins that way.”
Per Steinberg, Theismann later revisited the topic during the game.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of conversation after this football game regarding the quarterback position,” Theismann said. “You can’t avoid it. Your eyes don’t lie to you. Robert has struggled in the limited opportunities that he has had. And Kirk Cousins has seized the opportunities that he has had when it comes to playing the position and understanding the offense.”
Given a chance to revisit the topic again during Tuesday’s edition of The Dan Patrick Show, Theismann did a complete and total about-face. And then acted like he didn’t.
“Who gives this team a better chance of winning for the entire season?” Dan Patrick asked.
“I would say Robert does,” Theismann said.
“The element that we haven’t seen in preseason and the element that Robert brings is like Colin Kaepernick, is like Cam Newton. They have incredible ability — and Russell Wilson — to make plays with their legs that nobody else has. If you look at the 20 throws that Robert has made, most of it has been out of the pocket, which is a learning process for him. I’m sure that — and Jay has said this — he’s never had an athlete like Robert. So what’s gonna have to happen — and will happen, I’m sure — is this offense will morph into something that complements his skill set, as far as being able to break the pocket and get outside. In the preseason, because of the way it’s been constructed, there’s no question. Kirk has played and looked better. Robert continues to work hard . . . And I said it in the telecast, there’s no competition here. Robert Griffin III is the starting quarterback.”
There’s no competition because the team doesn’t want one. But during the game, before Theismann was perhaps talked to by someone who may decide not to renew his deal to work for the team in 2015 during the preseason or otherwise, Theismann’s point was that, if there were a competition, Cousins would be the guy.
“It’s going to be a decision that Jay Gruden is going to have to make,” Theismann said during the game.
Theismann didn’t say the offense will evolve or Griffin will get better or Griffin gives the team the better chance to win or any of the stuff that now tends to take the sting out of Theismann’s real-time, unfiltered comments.
He said Cousins would be the better option. Period.
Chances are someone with the team told Joe to shut up about that. Exclamation point.