-

The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

-

archive

Sant-Miller: With hurt RG3, QB2 can be No. 1 (Dec. 12)

Aaron Sant-Miller | Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, we have more drama out of Washington. No, I’m not talking about any political turmoil or issues with Obamacare. Rather, we have the benching of Robert Griffin III.

Yes, this is the quarterback for whom the Redskins sold the house, the car, the boat, half of their wardrobes and the family dog. Last April, the Redskins shipped off their first round draft pick, their second round draft pick, this year’s first round draft pick and next year’s first round draft pick, to move up four slots in the 2012 NFL Draft to select Griffin.

We’re also talking about a quarterback who was nominated to the Pro Bowl last year and selected as the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. Sure, he also set the rookie records for passer rating and touchdown-interception ratio in his first year in the NFL, following an All-American and Heisman Trophy-studded junior season at Baylor.

Well, this was all before Griffin’s fateful knee injury last winter. After playing through an LCL sprain, RGIII required reconstructive surgery to his right ACL and LCL ligaments.

Despite his struggles on the field this season, Griffin’s benching was cited as a move to protect his health. Cue the dramatic analysis. How unhealthy is he? How bad has he been playing? Did this merit a benching? Was he at risk of worsening some other injury unbeknownst to the sports fans everywhere? Oh my, what is going on in Washington?

Stop. Ceasefire. Sure, the drama around RGIII’s benching is exciting for all the aforementioned reasons, but that’s not what we should focus on. How about this kid from Michigan State? Kirk Cousins will be thrown under center this Sunday when the Redskins travel to Atlanta.

There is no Heisman bust sitting on Cousins’ trophy shelf. He has no impressive NFL accolades. While RGIII was claiming an All-American nomination, Cousins was snagging a Second Team All-Big Ten nomination. But, hey, he was honorable mention all-conference the two years before.

You know what Cousins does do well? He closes the deal. No, I’m not talking about how he filled in for RGIII and pulled out an overtime win over Baltimore last year, scoring the game-tying touchdown with less than 30 seconds left. I’m talking about a man who proposed to his wife from the balcony of the Speaker of the House’s office. Yes, the young man is happily engaged.

We’re talking about a man who leads the team to victory when the Redskins’ season is on the line. In his first, and only, career NFL start against Cleveland last December, Cousins threw for 329 yards and two touchdowns.

His college career wasn’t too shabby either. The Spartans went a combined 22-5 during Cousins’ last two seasons at Michigan State, including a victory over Georgia in the Outback Bowl to close the 2011 season. In those two seasons combined, Cousins threw for over 6,000 yards and 45 touchdowns while completing over 65 percent of his passes.

No, he doesn’t run a 4.4 40-yard dash like RGIII. Cousins is more of a 4.9 kind of guy.

No, he wasn’t the second overall draft pick. Cousins was taken literally 100 picks later, hearing his name after 101 other collegiate stars.

Maybe he doesn’t have the resume of RGIII, but when he has been given the chance, with pressure on, he has stepped up to the plate. We’re not talking about a Matt Flynn 480-yard and six-touchdown grand slam, but Cousins has had a couple nice line drives into the outfield.

At some point, the Redskins had to see what the kid has. Is he a potential starter, for either Washington or some other team out there? Or is he an eternal backup, doomed to be the most loved man for some suffering franchise?

Maybe he’ll be off-season trade bait. Or maybe, just maybe, stuck behind an injury-prone and struggling star, Cousins is the true future of a franchise.

I mean, let’s be honest, the man is a go-getter. How many NFL players have the courage to hit up their congressperson and ask for access to the Speaker of the House’s office for a wedding proposal?

Contact Aaron Sant-Miller at asantmil@nd.edu

The views expressed in this Sports Authority are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.