RGIII Benched, Lines Didn’t Move for #WASvsIND
Bovada Staff : November 28, 2014
We thought this might happen. Before Washington’s game last Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, there were rumblings that starting quarterback Robert Griffin III could be demoted if he didn’t come up with a good performance. And so it came to pass: Griffin was held to 106 yards passing in a 17-13 loss, although Washington did beat the NFL odds as a 9-point road underdog.
Griffin’s status was still up in the air Monday when the Indianapolis Colts opened as 10-point home favorites for their Week 13 matchup against Washington. One day later, head coach Jay Gruden made it official, declaring Colt McCoy as his starting quarterback for Sunday’s game (1:00 PM ET, FOX). The oddsmakers responded with a yawn, leaving the spread untouched as we go to press.
This speaks volumes for how far Griffin’s stock has plunged since his magnificent 2012 rookie campaign. Washington traded four high draft picks to the St. Louis Rams in order to move up and grab the former Heisman winner second overall. At first, Griffin was sensational. The zone read-option was a fairly new take on the spread offense, and Griffin ran it to perfection, adding 6.8 yards per carry to his 102.4 passer rating while leading Washington (10-6 SU, 11-5 ATS) to the NFC East title.
Now it looks like Griffin is done in DC. The big drawback with these read-option offenses is
the way they leave quarterbacks exposed to big hits, and Griffin didn’t even make it through his rookie year before suffering a sprained knee. This being the NFL, Washington pressed Griffin back into service (with his enthusiastic consent), and he badly re-injured his knee during a 24-14 Wild Card loss to the Seattle Seahawks (–3 away).
We’ve seen the occasional strong performance from Griffin since then, but his mobility just isn’t what it used to be, and he keeps getting hurt despite Washington’s shift away from the zone read. At this point, not only is Griffin damaged goods, but he’s also not delivering in Gruden’s new system. Griffin’s 85.7 passer rating this year would leave him outside of the top 20 quarterbacks in the NFL, behind his teammate and fellow benchee, Kurt Cousins (86.4).
Is McCoy (77.1 career rating) really the man for the job this week? He’s done very well in limited action for Washington, including his Week 8 start against the Dallas Cowboys – Washington (+9 away) even won that game 20-17 in overtime. But McCoy didn’t throw any touchdown passes. According to Football Outsiders, his 55 Total DYAR was good enough for No. 10 on that week’s quarterback rankings.
At least that would be an improvement over Griffin’s minus-80 DYAR last week against San Francisco. However, it’ll probably take more than just mistake-free football to get Washington (3-8 SU, 4-7 ATS this year) past the Colts (7-4 SU, 8-3 ATS). McCoy’s ceiling isn’t nearly as high as that of Griffin or Cousins. Someone else is going to have to step up on Sunday to compensate.