Redskins should have put season on hiatus
By Eric Wilkins, Sports Editor
What a difference a year makes. This time last year Robert Griffin III was the darling of the NFL—an electrifying quarterback with unparalleled athleticism. Eleven games in, the team was 5-6, but even when he lost, ‘Skins fans weren’t worried because they could see the future was bright. A seven-game win streak to cap off the season helped in this regard.
Fast-forward to this year and it’s a decidedly different picture. The Redskins are 3-8 (as of this writing) and look every bit of their lousy record. There will be no magical dash to the playoffs this time around. And as disappointing as it is for a team to have such a dramatic drop-off, the real concern here is precisely that which fans were so excited about last season: the future. RGIII is still RGIII. He’s still listed at 6’2” and around 218 pounds. He still throws right. He still plays quarterback. He’s still a man of god. But he’s not the same. His cuts aren’t as fast. He’s not breaking away like he used to. His passing isn’t there either. Even the diehards and so-called experts who backed him in September are starting to backtrack—cracks in the RGIII fairy tale are beginning to show.
But none of this should surprise anyone. Just what was everyone expecting from someone who had surgery on his LCL and second surgery on his ACL? As much as people want to deny it, RGIII is a great passer because he’s a great runner. If you’ve got the other team’s defence constantly having to spy the QB or have every man prepared to cover for a scramble, you’re going to have more success. However, take away that awesome athleticism, or even hinder it a bit, and the game is completely changed—as this year has proven. And none of this has taken into consideration the mental aspect. It takes some time to get over the injury in your head as well, and RGIII hasn’t.
I’m still of the mindset that Griffin should have just sat out this year. While no one likes to skip a season, the Redskins should have given this more thought. After investing a boatload of draft picks in RGIII, was rushing him back really in their (or his) best interests? Adrian Peterson is a freak of nature; it was unrealistic to think Griffin III could replicate the star running back’s comeback.
Meanwhile, struggles on the field aside, stories about the Baylor man off the field have started to come out. There are rumours that Griffin III is a little insecure. The ‘Skins number 10 reportedly asked the coaching staff to take out his negative plays while reviewing film but they declined; supposedly this was a common practice during his college days. Along with this, it has been suggested that he hurried back to playing because he feared losing his starting gig to 2012 fourth-rounder Kirk Cousins. Rifts between him and Kyle Shanahan and his offensive linemen have all been brought up as well—though obviously refuted by all involved parties. And of course it just wouldn’t be a story if the recent visit of RGIII’s father to the locker room after a loss wasn’t brought up.
Whether there’s any truth to any of the rumours is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that he’s not the player he used to be, and unfortunately, may never be again. Mike’s Shanahanigan’s in last year’s playoffs letting him stay in the game just may have ruined RGIII’s career. As noted by 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks a few weeks ago, “I don’t think he should be playing. You can see it. Everybody can see it.”