If you’re betting on the Washington Redskins in 2015, don’t count on Robert Griffin III leading them at quarterback. Much of the league still questions whether the talented QB will be able to overcome the immense struggles that have plagued him ever since 2012, when he won Offensive Rookie of the Year award and turned the league upside down with his running and throwing abilities.
“There’s no coming back,” said an anonymous NFL offensive coach. “He is done. The reason is, the injury slowed his legs, and his ego will not allow him to hit rock bottom and actually grind his way back up the right way.”
The coach is referring to a knee injury that RG III suffered in the 2012 NFL playoffs, one that he played through while causing further damage to his knee. Following surgery in the 2013 offseason, his running abilities or overall production haven’t been the same since. And these problems have only been compounded by what many deem to be a primadonna attitude from the young signal caller.
“To get better in this league, you have to have a degree of humility,” a personnel director told ESPN’s Mike Sando. “… When (Griffin) looks in the mirror, he is seeing things that everybody else is not seeing. That is why I was surprised when they gave him the fifth-year (option) and said it was an easy decision.”
In addition to these anonymous coaches questioning RG III, former Washington head coach Mike Shanahan also weighed in – though he doesn’t directly point to the knee injury or attitude as the problem.
“I don’t think getting hurt has anything to do with (Griffin’s regression),” Shanahan said. “You don’t have to have great running ability to run the read-option. You have to be able to know when to slide, when to throw the football away, depending on if you’re running or passing.”
Shanahan believes that there may be hope yet for Griffin, especially since he’s still in the process of adjusting to Jay Gruden’s new offensive system.
“I know how hard it is for a quarterback to go into a system for the first time,” said one NFL general manager. “With Griffin, I’m taking into account the new offense, the new personality at head coach, coming off an injury. He showed his rookie year that he could be a (top tier QB). He is a young guy. I’m going to give him the benefit because of that.”
Like Shanahan, there’s still a fair amount of NFL coaches who believe that it’s a little premature to give up on a 25-year-old quarterback, especially one who threw for 3,200 yards and rushed for another 815 yards just three years ago.
New Washington GM Scot McCloughan is among this crowd, citing that it would be ridiculous to cut ties with him already. “I think this season is going to tell a lot,” said McCloughan.
The new GM is certainly right about this, given that Griffin has a lot to prove after playing just nine games last year, and throwing 4 TDs and 6 INTs before getting benched in favor of Colt McCoy.
The Redskins bring back their same quarterback quartet of Kirk Cousins, McCoy and Griffin, all three of whom started games last season. It’s tough to say who will win the starting job out of training camp; but if Griffin can get back to his 2012 level and show some maturity, then he definitely has a good chance.