With training camp set to begin later this month, Redskins.com previews the current state of the Redskins' roster, starting today with the team's quarterbacks.*
While the Redskins had a few offseason additions to their quarterbacks group with two different rookie free agents, they've elected to head to the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va., with the same three quarterbacks from last season.
Before the Redskins head to Richmond for training camp, check out who all is on the roster position-by-position. Today, it is the quarterbacks.
All three have extensive starting experience and all three have proven they can lead the Redskins to victory.
ROSTER SUBTRACTION(S):- None
KEY ADDITION(S):- None
CURRENT STATE OF THE UNIT:
As Redskins head coach Jay Gruden mentioned early in the offseason, the Redskins have three quality quarterbacks, headlined by fourth-year player Robert Griffin III.
Griffin III, who comes into the 2015 season solidly in the starter role despite an up-and-down third season in the NFL, last year showed flashes of the same player he was during a stellar rookie season in 2012, but also missed seven weeks after suffering an ankle injury in the first quarter of the Redskins' 41-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also struggled at times upon his return.
Still, despite the tumultuous season, Griffin III started seven games, throwing for 1,694 yards and four touchdowns. Of course you can't mention the former Heisman Trophy winner without highlighting his ability to beat defenses with his legs, as he rushed for an additional 176 yards.
Behind Griffin III this season once again are Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy, both of whom showed they can answer the challenge off the bench if needed.
Cousins replaced Griffin III after his Week 2 injury, leading the Redskins to victory behind 250 yards and two touchdowns. The next week against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Michigan State product had his best professional performance to date, throwing for a career-high 427 yards and three touchdowns.
While his play early in the season led a high-octane offense, late-game interceptions plagued him over the next few starts before he was removed at halftime of the Redskins' Week 7 victory over the Tennessee Titans.
McCoy was the man who replaced Cousins, leading a second-half charge to victory by connecting on 11-of-12 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.
The Texas product earned his first start as a Redskin the next week at the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football and served reminder to many of the fans who rooted for him in college of just how good he can be.
Behind 299 passing yards and a rushing touchdown, McCoy would lead the Redskins to a 20-17 overtime victory. He would ultimately start four more games before suffering a season-ending neck injury Week 15.
WHAT TO WATCH:
This one comes down to how Griffin III will perform with a full season with Gruden under his belt, as well as who will earn the team's primary backup role.
While they've only worked together for a handful of months, new quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh has seen Griffin III's unique skillset first-hand, noting that the Baylor product has the potential to rebound from back-to-back tough seasons.
"He's extremely talented. I'm not saying I didn't notice that, but when you're not around it every day I don't think you appreciate it fully," Cavanaugh said during mandatory minicamp. "He has incredible athleticism. He has a very strong arm. He's really accurate. I just think fundamentally, we're working on some of the core things of throwing a football: being comfortable in the pocket and having a good base to throw from all the time, which helps you consistently be accurate down the field more than anything. That's what we're working on. I think he's made really good strides over the last month or two."
For now, Cousins and McCoy have split second-team reps equally, but eventually one will rise above the other.
It will be a "tough" decision for Gruden but they'll battle it out during training camp and preseason to determine the final outcome.
"We're going to let them split the reps up and go from there and then make a decision come game day," Gruden said. "But I would like to see them push Robert and push themselves. I think being a quarterback in the National Football League, it's your job to not only get yourself better but push the people in front of you. These two guys aren't going to lie down and just hand the job over. They're going to do everything in their power to prove that they are starting-caliber quarterbacks in the National Football League."