Because of circumstances, Kirk Cousins is now the man Washington has to go to. And so Theismann was asked this week whether he took heat for singing Cousins’s praises several weeks ago.
“Actually I did,” Theismann told the Dan LeBatard Show. “And everybody sort of jumped my bones, because I mentioned the fact that if you were to just have a competition during the preseason, and watch the way Robert worked — with the adjustments to a new system, a new setup and a lot of different things — and you watched the way Kirk worked, there would be no question that Kirk would be the guy who was much more comfortable and should have been the quarterback. That wasn’t the way it was. Robert Griffin III was the quarterback of the Washington Redskins, he was the starting quarterback. I was evaluating performances….
“Kirk is a natural drop-back passer,” Theismann said. “And when I think of the three years that Jay Gruden spent with Andy Dalton, I see Kirk Cousins as an extension of Andy Dalton. Robert brings a gift of athleticism to get outside the pocket and make plays, but he still had never really worked in a system like he was being asked to do. And he got better and better, but Kirk was already there….
“And Kirk can move, too,” Theismann said. “He’s not Tom Brady or Peyton [Manning] that just basically operates exclusively out of a pocket. So yeah, I caught a little bit of heat for it, but I was making an observation of what I saw in performance.”
Later, Theismann was asked which quarterback he would turn to if both were healthy and an NFC East title were on the line.
“I know it’s a loaded question, and I congratulate you on presenting it,” Theismann quipped. “If the Redskins are in a position to make the playoffs and Kirk Cousins has played well enough through the course of the season say into week 10 or 11, I think you have to stay with the hot hand.”
Then Theismann compared it to Colin Kaepernick taking over for Alex Smith in San Francisco.
“Alex got hurt, Colin went in and did the job, and Jim [Harbaugh] made the decision to stay with Colin,” Theismann said. “And Alex is in Kansas City and Colin’s there. I think it’ll depend on how Kirk plays, and it’ll depend on how well Robert is able to rehab and get himself back in shape to be the quarterback of this football team.”
Still, Theismann argued that Griffin can one day be a great quarterback even without running.
“Because I saw progress with him working out of the pocket,” Theismann said. “He was getting better and better. And this is really the rub and the unfortunate aspect of what happened to him [Sunday], is the time that he could have invested and would have been able to invest in these next games as the season goes on. I think he would have been more and more comfortable in Jay’s system. He would have been more and more comfortable as a drop-back passer. You could see it happening. It’s just it’s not a light switch….
“Learning a new system, working basically out of a pocket, where if you’re not used to that — if you don’t do it in college, if you don’t do it in your early years as a pro, it’s an adjustment that has to be made. And so Robert was basically faced with that kind of a situation, but I saw him getting better and better and better. And yeah, I think he can do it.”