Redskins may regret QB decision

Why benching Robert Griffin III hurts his locker-room standing

Updated: December 13, 2013, 10:01 AM ET
By Herm Edwards | ESPN Insider

Mike Shanahan's decision to bench Robert Griffin III and start Kirk Cousins on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons is the latest in the soap opera that has become the Washington Redskins' 2013 season.

In certain ways, the decision to sit the star QB -- who is clearly viewed as the future of the franchise -- makes some logical sense. For starters, Griffin has not performed at a high level this season. And the future success of the Redskins is tied to Griffin, so he needs to be healthy to play a role in that future. The move to sit Griffin also gives the team a chance to showcase Cousins and potentially trade him in the offseason for additional assets -- a move the Redskins could need, since they lack their first-round pick in May. But in the context of the locker room, the context I'm familiar with as a former player and head coach, Shanahan's decision is very problematic.

With all the drama surrounding the relationship between Shanahan and owner Daniel Snyder, the bottom line is that this decision hurts RG III's standing in the locker room, as the team appears to be putting him on a pedestal now and going forward. In order to be an effective leader, Griffin needs the team behind him, not beneath him. Shanahan -- whose own future is very much in doubt -- has put his quarterback in a tough situation by sitting him. And that's why I think this is clearly a bad decision.

[+] EnlargeKirk Cousins
David Richard/USA TODAY SportsKirk Cousins will start at QB on Sunday for Washington.


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