Robert Griffin III was hailed as the savior of Washington once he arrived in town. The combination of speed, athleticism and a throwing arm had the Reskins fan base excited over what he could be. And in his first season he did not disappoint. He led the Redskins to the NFC East crown and the playoffs in his first season. But within that first season, he had some bumps and bruises. RGIII was injured before the playoffs and did not look like the same athletic guy he was when he got there. And in the playoffs, his leg, which he had injured previously, gave way. The result was a torn ACL for the second time in his career along with other injuries to his knee. And from there, Robert Griffin III has never been the same. It seems like since that time, his play has never reached the hype of what accompanied him when he arrived in 2012. The more Robert Griffin III seems to talk, the worse his play seems to have gotten. And now we have reached the point where the guy who once was on top of the world in DC has now been deemed an afterthought. The Redskins recently announced that back quarterback Kirk Cousins would be the starting quarterback for the 2015 season. Of course that decision is always subject to change due to it only being the beginning of the season, but it seemed to be almost a burial of RGIII in Washington. Many think this is the end for him in DC and deservedly so. But what even led us to this point?
There is no doubt that Griffin III is a very talented player when he is healthy. But the fact remains that he has not been healthy since he went down with injury his rookie season. Griffin III rushed back from injury to be ready for the 2013 season and that was a huge mistake. Part of the reason he made it back so quick was his burning desire to be on the field. And the mistake on the management’s part was to let him back on the field so quickly. His knee was in disarray. And if the management really cared about Griffin III, they would not have even let him get back on the field until he was fully healed. The result of him being on the field too quickly ended with not being anywhere close to the same player he was before his injury. He did not have the explosiveness he had when he would leave the pocket and it seemed like the zip he once had on the football was not the same. The result was subpar performances and a guy that looked like a shell of himself. As far as the team’s performance, they have suffered right along with RGIII. The team has not had a winning record since that 2012 season and it has also not had the same buzz and excitement.
The injuries to RGIII have slowed him down, but so has the offensive system around him. When RGIII first entered the NFL, everyone knew who he was. He was an athletic quarterback who operated out of the spread offense with efficiency. When he came into the NFL, the Redskins under Mike Shanahan adapted to his style. And with doing so, they made the playoffs. But ever since that year and with the injuries to RGIII, the Redskins have seem to forgot what RGIII is. And in the new offense, Jay Gruden has RGIII doing play-action passes and operating under center. In essence, that is not what RGIII has done and not a part of the player he is. What should have happened with the Redskins is they should have met RGIII halfway. Gruden wants a certain style offense, but he also has to realize what talent he has when it comes to RGIII. It seemed like Gruden was determined to make RGIII into what he wanted instead of accentuating what he had in him. And as a result, the offense looked disastrous when RGIII was on the field. But at the same time Gruden was forcing his offense on RGIII, it seemed like the former Baylor star was not growing at all on the field. Instead of him picking up the same nuances that other quarterbacks seem to do over time, he was not throwing it to open receivers. RGIII would instead run and try to make a play instead of throwing it to the open man. And as a result of that, defenses would track him down and the offense would go nowhere fast.
The writing seems to be on the wall that RGIII’s days as a starter in Washington are about over. The excitement to start his career was thought by some to be a prelude to his success. But in the end, it may end up being the high point of his career as the quarterback of the Redskins. The next step is undetermined at this time, but there could be a change of jerseys coming for RGIII. And for RGIII, a change of jersey will hopefully lead to an offense that fits what he can do. And for RGIII, hopefully we can see the exciting player that he was again someday instead of the shell of a player he has been since his rookie season. His time has come and gone in DC and his next chance will hopefully come with a change of scenery. This has to be a low point for RGIII and it is up to him where he goes from here.