Robert Griffin III began the 2014 season as the Washington Redskins' starting quarterback, he ended the injury-plagued year as the starter, and, head coach Jay Gruden confirmed Wednesday, he'll likely have the same spot to open up the 2015 season.
Gruden, speaking to reporters Wednesday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, said the coaching staff has "reviewed all the games and all the tape" from the 2014 season, and came to the conclusion that Griffin III is their best option at the position moving forward.
A countdown of the top-10 images of quarterback Robert Griffin III during the 2014 season.
After mixing up the coaching staff — including the addition of a quarterbacks coach in Matt Cavanaugh — Gruden said the team's focus is now completely on improving its current roster.
"There's a lot of improvement to do across the board — coaching included," Gruden said. "We'll go into the season with Robert as the No. 1 guy, and you know, it's up to Robert to continue to grow and mature as a quarterback and as a person. Then moving forward, we just want to see some improvement. It's up to us as a staff to get more out of him."
Griffin III is coming off a rollercoaster 2014 season in which he suffered a serious ankle injury Week 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He returned seven weeks later on the road against the Minnesota Vikings, and would split time the rest of the season with veteran quarterback Colt McCoy.
McCoy and Cousins had a mixed bag of results in Griffin III's absence. McCoy, a fifth-year Texas product, played in five games — starting four — and completed 91-of-128 passes (71 percent) for 1,057 yards with four passing touchdowns to three interceptions. Cousins, meanwhile, played in six games with five starts, completing 126-of-204 passes (61.2 percent) with 10 passing touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Cousins — who was selected by the Redskins in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Michigan State — remains under contract with the team for the 2015 season, but McCoy heads into the offseason an unrestricted free agent.
Gruden said Wednesday he wasn't yet prepared to talk about the possibility of bringing McCoy back for a second season in Washington.
"Well, he's a free agent. Obviously, we're talking," Gruden said. "That process will come when it's time to come, but we're interested in a lot of our guys and developing our guys and trying to get the contracts done. But we don't have any plans to talk about who we're going to sign or not sign right now."
Cousins, meanwhile, is working this offseason with Jay's brother Jon, a Super Bowl-winning head coach formerly with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who now has a career as an analyst with ESPN.
"Jon does his own thing with those quarterback camps, so that's totally on their own nickel and on their own time," Jay Gruden said Wednesday. "You know, Jon's doors are open for a lot of the quarterbacks that he's had through his doors and guys, when they go down to Tampa, they might pop in for an hour or two or two days or whatever it is."
Gruden said he expects Griffin III to work with his own personal quarterback coach, Terry Shea, this offseason — like he did last year — but is also excited for Griffin III and Cousins to learn under Cavanaugh and offensive coordinator Sean McVay.
"I think any time you've got a chance to drop back and throw the ball with the coach watching, it's beneficial," Gruden said. "Terry's an experienced guy, and you know, I think Matt Cavanaugh, Sean and myself, we're going to draw up some plans also that, some fundamental issues, some things that he can work on also in the offseason. But we'll get our hands on him come April, and we'll start working with him, also."
For his part, Griffin III staying healthy and focused — and winning games — are his main goals for the 2015 season.
"For me, what I've learned is, you know, at times like these you have to focus in on yourself a whole lot harder, and that's what I've tried to be," Griffin III said in a recent interview with ESPN 980. "I've tried to figure what I can be to be more consistent, go out there and play the game that you love, the way you know how to play it."