The face of the franchise is someone expected to do great things. They are expected to make a franchise rise from the depths in which they have dropped. The face of the franchise is expected to have longevity and sustainability. Robert Griffin III was drafted to be just that for the Washington Redskins. Oh, how the mighty Robert has fallen!
It all began on the faithful night in April 2012. Robert Griffin III walked across the stage and accepted his jersey with a handshake and a hug. Here was the savior. Mike Shanahan had finally gotten his franchise QB in Washington. Here was the QB that was supposed to be the next “John Elway” for Shanahan and get him back to the Super Bowl.
On that early September day in New Orleans the league and Redskins fans were buzzing. No one knew what this kid could do. Was he really the talent that won the Heisman Trophy or was he just a college flash in the pan. Everything started out great. The Redskins won the game and the talk began.
The talk began almost immediately. Can this kid’s style of play last in the NFL. If he continues to run like he does he will eventually get hurt. The hits and injuries will mount up and he will be short lived. Mike Shanahan wanted no part of this. He had tailored his offense specifically around Robert Griffin III. He was going to play him the way he sees fit.
The first injury came against the Atlanta Falcons. Robert Griffin III was crushed by LB Sean Weatherspoon. The result was his first concussion. RG3 would miss the remainder of that game. He would come back to play the following week against the Vikings and pull off the most electrifying run of the 2012 season.
The next significant injury came in the Baltimore game. The Redskins were driving for a game tying TD when Robert Griffin III broke the pocket and headed downfield. He dove for the sticks and the first down. In the process of the dive he was hot by Haloti Nata and RG3’s knee whipped in ways a knee should not go. Here is where the mighty Robert would begin to fall. RG3 would go on to miss the next game.
RG3 would come back to play against the Philadelphia Eagles. Although not 100% he would be able to lead the team to victory the rest of the season en route to the Redskins first division title since 1999 and a playoff home game against the Seattle Seahawks. History was being made. Robert Griffin would go on to reinjure his knee on the second TD drive but continue to play. The complete fall would come late in the 4th quarter. RG3 would tear his PCL and ACL on a low snap from center.
RG3 would begin his rehab regiment almost immediately. He would document this for ESPN and title it for Adidas “All in for Week 1!” The change was on. Robert Griffin III was a completely different QB from here on out. He wanted to become a pocket passer. He did not want to run the read option that was catered to his strength. The country began to see “Diva” like tendencies, blame hunting and a QB that was not completely healthy at all for the 2013 season. It became a season in which RG3 was benched for the final 3 games so that he could be “fully healthy” for 2014.
The 2014 season has been anything but stellar for Robert Griffin III. He suffered another serious injury in week 2 with a dislocated ankle. His wanting to be a pocket passer is failing more and more and costing the team in many different ways. They cannot move the ball through the air when he is behind center. And just this past week against the Niners they stripped him down on the playbook. They tried only running things that he was able to excel at. That ended up costing them a victory. He is beginning to get what I call the “Jim Zorn Treatment.”
The Jim Zorn Treatment in Washington is where everything is taken from you slowly and eventually you are run out of town. If we are going to move on from RG3 we should just bench him and move on. He was not, is not and will never be a pocket passer in the NFL. He has trouble with multiple reads. He excels at the play action but only if it has 1 read and that read is open. He would make a great dual threat QB in this league but that is not what HE wants.
The mighty Robert has fallen in Washington. He has fallen from the graces of a once promising career. His fall has left its mark on a franchise rich in history. How long will it be for this franchise to recover from yet another failed experiment? That is yet to be seen. However, we do know this, another failed experiment may cause revolt in the nation’s capital.