Well, that escalated quickly.
Only nine days ago, quarterback Robert Griffin III remained entrenched as the starter in D.C. After nearly beating the Vikings in his return from a dislocated ankle, Griffin had two weeks to get ready for a gimme putt against the Buccaneers.
And then Tampa won by 20, Griffin looked horrible in the process, and coach Jay Gruden launched a public campaign against Griffin that laid the foundation for Tuesday’s news that Gruden had benched Griffin — even though Gruden said after a closer-than-expected game in San Francisco that Gruden had “every intent” to start Griffin at Indianapolis.
With the report that Griffin has been benched for the second time in less than a year comes the news (from the same reporter) that Griffin “still appears to be a significant part” of the team’s “long-term plan.”
Sure he is. He’s a significant part of the team’s long-term plan because the long-term plan is to trade him for draft picks who will become part of the long-term plan.
There’s no way the bridge can be rebuilt again in 2015, not after former coach Mike Shanahan cast Griffin aside and now current coach Jay Gruden has done the same thing. Unless Gruden gets fired after one year (it’s not as outlandish a proposition as it would seem), Griffin won’t want to return to Washington next season, where at a minimum he’ll have to win via open competition during the offseason, training camp, and preseason a job his head coach currently thinks he isn’t suited for.
So look for Griffin to quietly begin clamoring to be traded or cut. Trading him makes the most sense, because if he’s cut it’s likely he’ll land in Philly with Chip Kelly, with a strong incentive to do everything possible to make Washington look like it made a mistake with the guy on whom Washington made a mistake by giving up three first-round picks and a second-round pick.
And if the team resists giving Griffin what he wants, maybe he’ll decide to finally share his personal opinion about the team’s nickname.