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Monday, February 3, 2014
Positional outlook: Quarterbacks

By John Keim

A little glimpse ahead and a quick look back at each position, starting with quarterbacks:

Robert Griffin III

The skinny: It’s too early to jump off his bandwagon after one tough season. The problem with 2013 is what he accomplished in 2012, setting the bar at a ridiculous level. It’s now back down, at least until he proves he can become an effective quarterback in the pocket. He does not have to be restricted to the pocket, but he does have to improve -- not just in throwing the ball, but in knowing how to move around and escape pressure. Griffin’s ability to extend plays remains huge and a major weapon (as it was for Seattle’s Russell Wilson and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick throughout the postseason).  But he must become a more consistent passer. An offseason devoted to footwork and other fundamentals should help. Griffin must buy in to Jay Gruden; Griffin always did what was asked of him in the past, but when you buy in it can elevate your game.  He also must accept realize he’s far from a finished product. Gruden’s demeanor (as well as that of offensive coordinator Sean McVay) could help a lot as well.  I’ll be curious to see how much explosiveness Griffin regains the further he gets from the knee surgery -- and without the brace (if he ditches it, that is).

2014: Starter.

Contract status: Signed through 2015, though a team option is available for a fifth season.

Kirk Cousins

The skinny: Cousins has told the Redskins he would welcome a trade and it’s hard to blame him considering Griffin remains the future. I’m sure the Redskins will listen to offers, but will any team make a deal worthwhile? In three starts, Cousins showed some good and bad. He was more decisive with his reads and getting rid of the ball than Griffin. But inaccuracy, and the occasional forced pass, led to interceptions.  He showed poise in the pocket and a willingness to make tough throws, which can lead to big plays or mistakes. But he struggled in his final start and still has a lot to prove. How much would he improve given more playing time? That’s a question any team checking him out must answer. One executive (whose team is not looking for a quarterback) said Cousins could start for some teams right now and, he said, the Redskins might be able to get a “second or third for him.” Cousins’ ceiling is not as high as Griffin’s, but he has shown he can help.

2014: Backup.

Contract status: Signed through 2015.

Rex Grossman

The skinny: Did not play for a second straight season and served mostly as a mentor and player-coach for Griffin and Cousins. He’s a smart guy who helped in this role. But in Jay Gruden’s three seasons with Cincinnati, the Bengals kept two quarterbacks on the active roster each time. Grossman’s time in Washington could be over. You have to wonder if he’ll follow Kyle Shanahan to Cleveland. Shanahan won’t have any coaches who know his playbook so it would be helpful to have a quarterback who does.

2014: Likely gone.

Contract status: Scheduled to be a free agent March 11.