I enjoyed the game of Robert Griffin III when he first broke into the league in 2012, I had very high hopes for him, like the majority of fans out there. He passed well, and he ran incredibly well, he was a breath of fresh air, in a stuffy Washington atmosphere, who had the likes of Rex Grossman, Jason Campbell and Patrick Ramsey since 2002. Ideally, for Washington fans he shows at least something that regard as to why he was drafted 2nd overall by the Skins.
RGIII has almost in a way has put himself into a certain type of player. The flashy QB with rockets on his feet. Yet it appears that he is heading down the same path as other Baylor QBs that did not transition well into the NFL. And this could be his landslide out of Washington.
Griffin took ownership for playing lousy last year. 4TDs and 6 picks isn’t going to cut it in the NFL, and in the new generation of “you have 20 games to prove yourself” mentality he is already 15 games over. I am rooting for him, and I am hoping the kid does well. I do know that when I watched Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy take control of the offense. I still saw zero confidence taking place on the field. There was still a huge lack of leadership out there with the offensive squad.
The Skins did add some help, with QB coach Matt Cavanaugh, who has been working with guys who needed help for some time, and line coach Bill Callahan, who has a load of experience, and needs to shore up the front that allowed 58 sacks on their QBs in 2014.
Typically, the 2nd year in, the QB has some more confidence, starts to see the windows better, or lack thereof. A little bit more of an aura about them that they understand the game better, and the team that trusted them to lead them made the right decision.
I think that it became obvious, after his injury, that he just wasn’t mentally NFL ready. I understand it may be hard to say, but, ever since then, he has never shown the confidence that he had shown before. I get that the injury is mentally very hard to deal with, but, he has got to make that next jump and say, “this is it, I am healthy, and ok, time to make plays happen out here.”
Obviously dealing with a major knee injury, a coaching change, and then another injury on top of it all, then getting benched? That’s not going to make anyone feel good about themselves mentally either. He’s only 25 yrs old, not a 10 year vet, who gets it, who realizes, he has made it already, if it’s just a bad game, and he needs to sit to get his head clear. He is a young guy, who is still not established yet.
RGIII was often taking off out of the pocket as a rookie, in the zone read game picking up 4.6 rushing yards/attempt, but just 1 TD. Last season, in 2014, the Skins wanted him to hunker down and develop his passing game more. If he plans on ever being a QB for the future in the NFL, or for the Skins for that matter, he absolutely has to cut down on the run if things break down too fast mentality. Really, those QBs don’t last long, and are prone to relying on their feet too much. And, really, he is nowhere near big enough for it, comparing him to a Cam Newton, who is much bigger with another 50 lbs as well as his size of 6-6.
At times it seems he still hasn’t quite figured out when to slide, and avoid the hits. That approach to getting what he has available to him and accepting it, and avoiding the big hit makes a huge difference for the life of a QB with the ability to scramble. Obviously he is the size he is, there’s nothing he can do about that. But, what he can do, is decide when running is the best option and when to be smart about it. Depending on the down, what quarter the team is in, the score, all of that comes into play, and as the field Marshall, he has to be aware of all of that.
He has shown in the past he wants to run first, when things break down on the field. I question if he will ever learn to be a pocket passer. It just appears like he has an issue with remembering what they are going over in camp. When everything breaks down around you, and you have to get that last moment of patience, and either trust your arm, or your feet, you do what comes natural. And he has bolted. It’s a great gift to have the ability to scramble and take off and he is an athlete that can do it.
I think that many people and fans look at the Redskins’ record of 7-25 over the last 2 years and jump on Griffin. That he wasn’t the dominant QB or 4000 YD passer that immediately brought the team out of the bottom of the NFC East. To judge him so fast, in my opinion isn’t fair. Playing in a new offense, is always hard. And at times he was playing very well, 336 vs Dallas, when the team gave up 44 and completing 78% for 267 vs Houston but still couldn’t get them in the end zone.
Let’s take a look at the horrible defensive effort on the field as well. Over the last 2 years, they have struggled to win games, because they have been giving up around 28ppg. Seriously? You’re expecting a 24 year old to hang 29+ up a game? Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett was really expecting a miracle in sorts.
And let’s be honest you need an O-line to keep your guys jersey as clean as possible. No one can become a pocket passer behind an offensive line that cannot keep the QB upright and looking downfield. The run first mentality doesn’t work in the NFL, and you need an O-line that allows your QB to look downfield, with a chance to make a play with his arm. When your line consistently can’t keep the other teams front out of your backfield, it obviously means the QB, regardless of the skill set, is going to have no time to throw and likely no one to throw to.
Gruden didn’t waste a moment changing QB’s. RGIII didn’t show any significant improvement. I just don’t know how much Kirk Cousins is going to be that much better, that’s the concern I have if I am a Skins fan. Gruden will definitely not stick with him either, if they’re losing games, and he is playing poorly. Gruden wants to keep his job alive as well, let’s be truthful. Winning games, is what Gruden’s job is to do, not catering to RGIII.
The only way for RGIII to ever succeed is to make smart throws, rely way less on his legs, and trust his O-line. All which are going to be very hard. I think at this point, Cleveland should take a crack at him. Why not? What do they have to lose? See is Washington can work something out. He is on his last leg (no pun intended) to prove he’s a legit NFL QB. Cleveland doesn’t have ‘that guy’ as of yet, maybe a new start could help.
Mike Anthony of 10StarPicks.com