Redskins Coach Jay Gruden wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Robert Griffin III returning for the upcoming Monday night game at Dallas, but went ahead and named third-string Colt McCoy as Washington’s starter.
“He still has a long way to go,” Gruden said of Griffin during Monday’s press conference. “I wouldn’t rule him out, but he has got a way to go to show that he can play, show that his ankle is 100 percent. That’s the big thing: He has got to be 100 percent ready to go. We don’t want to put him out there at 85 percent, have it be weak and have him do something to it. We want to make sure he’s ready to go when he’s out there.”
Griffin dislocated his left ankle in the first quarter of Washington’s Sept. 14 game against Jacksonville and has been sidelined since. Backup Kirk Cousins stepped in to win that game but lost the subsequent four and was on a downward trajectory Sunday against Tennessee, having turned the ball over twice, when Gruden benched him at halftime in favor of McCoy.
McCoy’s first throw, a short throw to Pierre Garcon, went for a 70-yard touchdown. He finished 11 of 12 for 128 yards and engineered three scoring drives, including the touchdown that reclaimed the lead and the field goal that clinched the 19-17 victory with three seconds remaining,
“Right now we’re going to move forward with Colt,” Gruden said. “I’d like to make the decision as soon as we can so we can get the reps. I’m a big rep guy. I want to make sure we get the starter ready to go, so we’re moving forward with the Cowboys with Colt, and Kirk is going to get the reps he gets and he’ll be ready to go if need be. But Colt will be the starter on Monday night.”
Gruden laid out several hurdles Griffin will have to clear before he’s comfortable sending him out in a game. That work starts in earnest Wednesday, when Griffin is expected to join the team for the first of four days of practice heading into the Dallas game.
“Robert has to, first of all, be honest with himself in how he’s feeling,” Gruden said. “He has got to get out there, run around. Ultimately if he gets cleared from the doctors, which we don’t know if he is fully cleared yet. We’re still going through the drills at the rate we want him to go through them. We’ll give him a little bit more this week and see where he’s at.
“Ultimately, can he cut without pain? Can he run without pain? Is he full speed? Is he sturdy enough? Does he feel like it is (sturdy enough)? (How does he fare) with the brace on?
“A lot of issues that go into making him a starter or seeing if he’s ready or not, and a lot of those are out of my hands. He’s going to have to make those decisions and so are the trainers.”
Gruden said he had no concerns about Griffin’s readiness from a mental standpoint, noting that he has attended all the quarterback meetings and kept abreast of the offense.
“I think it’s just getting back in the flow, calling the plays in the huddle with the [starters], going through the concepts over again, making sure he didn’t forget anything, which I don’t think he has,” Gruden said.
E-mail a Redskins question to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered in Tuesday’s Mailbag.
More from The Post:
Fancy Stats: Here’s when Cousins lost the fan base