Why the Redskins need to keep 3 QB’s on their roster

Redskins Personnel Washington Commanders

One of the big debates raging about the Redskins potential roster is whether or not to keep 3 QB’s on the active roster. Here are 10 reasons why we should expect to see Colt McCoy on the Redskins roster come week 1.

1. Robert Griffin III is one of the bigger injury risks among starting QB’s in the NFL:

-This isn’t an easy fact for many Redskins fans to swallow, but it is unfortunately completely true. In a 5 year period Griffin suffered two major ACL injuries (the 2nd included other ligaments as well), in the same knee. That is about as serious as you can get for an injury history, and it makes Griffin more susceptible to another re-injury in that knee (either ACL or another ligament). In addition players that suffer an ACL injury in one knee are more likely to have problems with their other knee (as it tries to compensate for the injured knee). Just from the ACL injuries alone there is nearly a 20% chance of another serious knee injury in the next 5 years for Griffin.

Knee injuries aren’t the only thing Griffin has in his history. He suffered at least one concussion in college (in 2011), and suffered another one in 2012. Concussions are another injury where once you have them they increase your chances of having multiple ones going forward. With today’s NFL system in place, concussions are something that can now take weeks if not months to overcome (see Jordan Reed last year or Michael Vick in 2012). If Griffin were to suffer a concussion in a game, they won’t know for certain whether he can play the next week until right before the game, that means they need a back-up in place and ready to go.

Even if Griffin’s injury history wasn’t spotty to begin with, just his style of play has to concern coaches that he is more at risk for injuries. Those quarterbacks who we see banged up year-in-year-out, guys like Vick, Roethlisberger, Rodgers, etc. are guys who all have one major thing in common, and that is their penchant for holding on to the ball too long. Even if they are making the throw and coming up with the big play, they are taking more hits than many of the other quarterbacks around the league. Typically we see this as an issue in mobile QB’s who thing they can buy enough time, or young quarterbacks who don’t yet know how to feel the pressure coming. Griffin is both of those things and we’ve seen him have serious issues holding on to the ball for too long last year.

2. You can’t expect to find Colt McCoy on the waiver wire or a similarly talented QB:

-This is an argument you hear a lot among Redskins fans wanting to get rid of McCoy, that the Redskins can simply pick him up or a similar quarterback if an injury were to take place among one of the Redskins top two QB’s. If McCoy is cut, he won’t just be sitting out there for the Redskins to sign as some team will sign him. They will sign him as soon as he’s cut, or when the first team loses a QB and comes looking for an arm. McCoy might not be top starting material, but he’s played in this league and hasn’t been down right awful. We just saw Brady Quinn and Rex Grossman signed to deals this past week, thinning the market even further (if that was possible) and ensuring there is no chance that McCoy would be without a job this year.

As for other options the top FA quarterbacks right now according to NFL Trade Rumors: are Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton, John Skelton, David Carr, Tim Tebow, Josh Freeman, Vince Young, Seneca Wallace, David Garrard and Brett Smith. Who on that list outside of Kyle Orton could actually be considered a better option than McCoy? And Orton really isn’t an option since he’s basically said he doesn’t want to play. If he is going to come back, it’s probably going to be with a coach or a situation he’s familiar with (i.e. the Bears). As for the rest most of those guys are well past their prime and have plenty of question marks surrounding them. Obviously the other issue with signing someone off the street is they would have to try to learn the playbook and get familiar with the guys around them, on very short notice.

3. The Redskins don’t have a 4th QB on the roster eligible for the practice squad:

-Typically when a team chooses to go with just 2 QB’s on the 53 man roster it is because they can put their 3rd or 4th QB in camp on the practice squad. That still gives them 3 QB’s in practice (see below) and an emergency option who knows the playbook in case of an injury. The Redskins don’t have that, McCoy is obviously not practice squad eligible and the Redskins don’t have a 4th guy in camp. If they were to try to sign someone else’s cut UDFA to be on their practice squad, it still wouldn’t be a viable replacement because they wouldn’t have any familiarity with the receivers and the playbook. They also won’t get the chance to really learn the playbook since they will spend most of their practice time simulating the opposing offense that week to test the defense.

4. The Redskins can’t rely on just two QB’s for practice:

-This goes hand-and-hand with number 3, but the Redskins need a 3rd quarterback either on the roster or practice squad to use each week in practice. That 3rd quarterback runs the scout team for most of practice and is meant to simulate the opposing offense each week. If you try to only go with 2 QB’s that would mean that instead of preparing each week for the Redskins game plan, Kirk Cousins would be preparing each week for the game plan of the other team to test the defense. So if Griffin just got banged up in a game you would have a quarterback who hasn’t been practicing the Redskins offensive game plan. Also with having just 2 QB’s each week in practice that means all the throws would be split by them, which could over the course of the year lead to a tired arm and extra wear and tear.

That means the Redskins either need a 3rd QB on the roster or on the practice squad. If it is a guy on the roster then you are going to want McCoy, if you are trying to sign a practice squad guy, you have the issues above of him not being ready (not to mention he’s clearly not that highly thought of if another team didn’t want him for their practice squad. The other issue with a practice squad guy is that he’s not exactly going to offer good competition for the defense on a week to week basis. A veteran like McCoy who has been around a little bit is going to offer much better week-to-week competition than a practice squad guy.

5. Griffin and Cousins are still pretty young:

-Now this is not to suggest that McCoy is a threat to either one of their jobs, but Griffin and Cousins have been in the league just 2 years and were in just one system. Colt McCoy is not a long term veteran by any standard with just 4 years in the league, but he’s gone through multiple coaches and has been a part of two organizations. McCoy has 28 games and 21 starts to his name and has spent time facing off against some of the best defenses in the league. He’s probably picked up a few things in his time in the league that can help young QB’s like Griffin and Cousins. It also doesn’t hurt the McCoy spent time last year in San Francisco facing off versus a division that the Redskins face this year. McCoy may have some insights on some of the NFC West defenses that can help Griffin and Cousins prepare for them this season.

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