WASHINGTON (AP) — Move over, RG3. It’s Colt vs. the Colts.
The Washington football team plans to start Colt McCoy over Robert Griffin III on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, according to a person familiar with the decision, the latest development in a stunning slide for the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because coach Jay Gruden had yet to announce the news to his team. He planned to do so Wednesday morning.
Washington is 0-3 since Griffin returned from an ankle injury and have scored only one touchdown in each of the last two games. The former No. 2 overall draft pick seemed poised to revolutionize the quarterback position with his arm and legs when he led Washington to the playoffs two years ago, but he is 4-14 as a starter since the start of the 2013 season and has struggled in an attempt to transform into a traditional pocket-passer.
Gruden has been candid about Griffin’s development and was particularly brutal a week ago, citing “fundamental flaws” after an abysmal performance in a 20-point loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Griffin played a little better in a 17-13 defeat against the San Francisco 49ers, but Gruden afterward hinted that a change was possible, saying that Griffin’s 106 yards passing “is unheard of this day and age with the receivers we have, and we have to figure out something.”
Griffin has now been benched twice when healthy in his young career. He was shut down for the final three games last year as the season spiraled to a 3-13 finish under then-coach Mike Shanahan.
Griffin has also suffered two major leg injuries — a torn ACL in his right knee as a rookie and a dislocated left ankle this year. The injuries have played a part in Griffin’s desire to become a pass-first quarterback, rather than the dual-threat player who rushed for 815 yards as a rookie.
The ankle problem caused Griffin to miss six games and hindered his work with first-year coach Gruden, but there had already been signs in training camp that he was having trouble with basics such as footwork and downfield reads. Drills ran more crisply with backups Kirk Cousins and McCoy.
Cousins took over after Griffin was hurt in the first quarter of the Week 2 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and led a 41-10 victory, but he lost his next four starts and proved to be turnover-prone. He was benched at halftime in favor of McCoy against the Tennessee Titans, and McCoy rallied Washington to a 19-17 win and then a Monday night upset of the Dallas Cowboys.
Despite McCoy’s success, Gruden went back to Griffin the following week — and the team hasn’t won since.
For the season, Griffin has completed 70 percent of his passes — an impressive rate — but he has only two touchdowns and three interceptions and has been sacked 20 times in five starts. His passer rating is 85.7.
McCoy joined Washington this season in need of a job in his fifth year in the league, willing to be a third-stringer behind Griffin and Cousins. He hadn’t started a game since 2011 before he led the win over the Cowboys.