Rumors are abound that Washington QB Robert Griffin III will return this Sunday for the Redskins’ game at Minnesota. The reaction from Redskins fans has been less than positive. Granted, this is from talk radio and twitter, but the fans are making their voices heard. Among the comments I’ve seen.
“Let him rest another week. Colt McCoy gives us the best chance to win”
“RG3 is soft, he’ll be hurt by the second quarter. Why bother playing him?”
Redskins fans clearly have not learned anything from the Kirk Cousins fiasco. Cousins looked great in relief week two vs Jacksonville, the got worse and worse as teams started to study film on him. Colt McCoy was excellent in managing the game Monday night as the Redskins upset the Dallas Cowboys, but he’s a third string qb for a reason. There is no way he should start over a healthy Griffin.
So where did it all go wrong for RG3? The answer is simple. December 23, 2012.
After the Redskins fell to 3-6 in 2012, then coach Mike Shanahan basically gave up on the season. The rest of the season was going to be for evaluating players. Griffin put the team on his back the next three games as they beat Philadelphia, Dallas, and New York. At 6-6, and now in full playoff contention, Griffin suffered an LCL strain rushing for a first down against Baltimore. A three week to three month recovery time. Griffin missed one game, and returned the following week. A clearly compromised Griffin gutted out a victory at Philadelphia, then did the same in the division clinching win the following week vs Dallas.
He aggravated that injury in the playoff game against Seattle. A hobbled Griffin struggled as the Redskins managed only three first downs after the first quarter. Shanahan later said he did not know the severity of Griffin’s injury, but everyone watching it had the same thought. Get him out of there, before this knee goes from bad to worse. It did, and Griffin’s ACL finally gave out with 5 minutes to go in the game, putting his 2013 season in jeopardy.
Inexplicably, Shanahan and company felt Griffin was fit enough to start Week One of the 2013 season, despite the fact that he hadn’t taken a live snap in any game situation since his injury. They also wanted Griffin to change his game and become a pocket passer, even though he hadn’t practiced that either. The results were predictable, as the Redskins were 3-10 when Shanahan, in a fight with ownership, benched a healthy Griffin for the final three games of the season.
Shanahan was fired the day after the season, and Jay Gruden was introduced as the new head coach. He also decided the RG3 should be a pocket passer, and spent the offseason trying to make him one. That led to the August quarterback controversy, when Joe Theismann said that Kirk Cousins should be the starting quarterback. We know how that one turned out. Griffin was the starter week one vs the Houston Texans. The Redskins O-Line couldn’t stop JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Griffin was under pressure all day and the offense struggled. In week two vs the Jaguars, Gruden opened the offense up. Here’s the play log from the first touchdown drive.
Morris- 2 yard rush
Griffin- 19 yard roll out pass to Niles Paul
Griffin- 10 yard rush
Heul- 6 yard rush
Griffin- 19 yard roll out pass to Desean Jackson.
The last play was when Griffin broke his ankle. The offense had gone 56 yards in five plays. Granted, it was against Jacksonville, but it was the best the offense had looked in two years. I was excited to what was to come, but Griffin went down.
Sunday is when he returns. This may very well be his last chance. Another injury and it will be nearly impossible for him to shed the injury prone label. But if he wins, the (re)rise of Robert Griffin III will be here for everyone to see.