WASHINGTON — Former Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer is questioning what he believes to preferential treatment toward Kirk Cousins, treatment, Toomer says, Jay Gruden never afforded Robert Griffin III.
Toomer has been openly critical of the Redskins’ support for their starting quarterback; last week, he stated his belief they may have “made a huge mistake with Kirk Cousins.”
On Wednesday, Toomer was asked by 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier to address a report indicating, since Washington’s 27-23 loss to Dallas, “multiple offensive players have begun to complain about Kirk Cousins, pointing to a lack of decisiveness, erratic play and confusion.”
Toomer roots the issue all the way back to Gruden’s Nov. 2014 public critique of Griffin. A day after Griffin famously told reporters after a loss to Tampa Bay that “every guy has to look himself in the mirror,” Gruden responded by saying Griffin needs to “worry about himself,” then went on to rip Griffin’s footwork, fundamentals, reads and progressions in a humiliating critique of his then-starter’s performance.
“I think it all goes back to Jay Gruden, the way he treated RGIII,” Toomer said of the reported finger-pointing. “You can’t dog a quarterback in front of everybody, describing how poor his drops were, describing how poor his decision making was, because all that does is that tells the rest of the team, ‘Hey, yeah. What I thought was right. And you know what? If next time a quarterback messes up, I’m gonna dog him, too.'”
Toomer continued: “And that’s what’s happening! The fact that RGIII got ran out of town so unceremoniously, you can blame RGIII all you want, but that’s a toxic situation in that locker room, and it all started with the way Jay Gruden — in an unprecedented manner — totally destroyed his quarterback in a press conference.”
“And you can’t reel that back,” he said. “You can’t say, ‘Hey, come on guys. Don’t be so hard on the quarterback,’ when you, as the head coach, were, and now you’re protecting a quarterback who’s playing just as poorly as RGIII was playing.
“And so now it’s a situation where the team thinks you’re — from the outside looking in, of course — a team that’s like, ‘Okay. Well, you can dog RGIII, but you have kid gloves when it comes to Kirk Cousins. Hmm. Why is that?’
“And that’s a question he’s going to have to answer. Surprising how short-sighted some of these new coaches that come in and don’t understand, who have been in locker rooms, but don’t understand the dynamic of how things work. And I’m very shocked, and I’m not surprised, that this is turning into a toxic locker room in Washington.”
Toomer went on to say Gruden may not believe in Cousins which, he says, should be evident in the play-calling moving forward.
“Your coach needs to trust your quarterback,” he said. “Your coach needs to trust your system. What happens sometimes as coaches get in the red zone, they know things tighten up so much, and if you don’t believe 100 percent in your quarterback, that he can make the right decision, he can fit balls in, he doesn’t have the arm strength… because you don’t need arm strength to throw the ball deep down the field, you need arm strength to zip that quick-hitting stick route in the middle to the tight end. That’s what you need arm strength for.
“You need to put speed on it. You need to make sure that that ball gets there emphatically, and I don’t think Jay Gruden believes that Kirk Cousins can consistently do that, and so he tries to maneuver around the fact that he doesn’t believe in Kirk Cousins. And that may be it. I mean, you can say all you want, the proof is in the pudding. He throws an interception in the red zone; you think Jay Gruden’s gonna be more likely to throw more balls in the red zone on the goal line, or less likely?”
“I think it’s less likely,” he said. “And I think it’s because he doesn’t believe in his quarterback.”