RG III Finished in NFL? One Coach thinks so

robert-griffin-iii-2015If 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.

robert-griffin-knee“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.

St. Louis Rams Betting: Does Sam Bradford Injury kill Hopes?

sam-bradford-injuryWhile the St. Louis Rams play in the NFL’s toughest division, they were still hoping to compete for the NFC West title. Coming off of a 7-9 season that saw starting quarterback Sam Bradford miss most of the season with an ACL tear, the Rams were certainly looking to be competitive. Unfortunately, the team is in disarray again after losing Bradford for a second straight year to a torn ACL.

During Saturday’s preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, Bradford was hit by lineman Armonty Bryant. He then began clutching his left knee, the same one that he had operated on for an ACL tear last year. Initially, Bradford thought that he was okay, but that’s clearly not the case now.

Head coach Jeff Fisher will now hand the ball to 13-year veteran Shaun Hill, who’s mostly been a backup in stints with Minnesota (2002-05), San Francisco (2006-09) and Detroit (2010-13). Hill may get the longest starting role of his career since he’s only made 26 starts, going 13-13. So is this all terrible news for diehard St. Louis Rams bettors? Well, it’s definitely not good news…

Quarterback Options

The Rams were already facing an uphill battle in a division that includes Super Bowl champ Seattle Seahawks, NFC Championship participant San Francisco 49ers and the 10-6 Arizona Cardinals. Having Hill under center doesn’t exactly inspire the confidence that St. Louis can topple these NFC West giants.

It’s clear that they expect to stick with the veteran for now, but if that doesn’t work out, there are other options. Josh Freeman, Kyle Orton and Tyler Thigpen are all available through free agency. None of these QB’s sound particularly enticing, but they are there for the picking.

They could also swing trades with Washington for Kirk Cousins, or with Philadelphia for Mark Sanchez. The Cousins trade would be particularly attractive since he played well for Washington last year and is rumored to be outplaying Robert Griffin III. However, all of this may wait until Fisher and the front office have had a chance to see Hill starting a couple of regular season games.

“It makes no sense to jump and react right now and try to fill the hole, whatever it costs,” Fisher said. “We’re gonna take our time and evaluate this. There’s gonna be some quarterbacks that are released and there may or may not be some quarterbacks out there that have trade value. We just don’t know. It’s way too soon.”

What’s Left for the Rams?

greg-robinson-auburn-1One positive that’s left for St. Louis is their offensive line. This unit was notably bolstered in the offseason when the Rams drafted OT Greg Robinson with the second overall pick. The line was one reason why big things were expected for Bradford; now maybe we can expect above-average things for Shaun Hill.

Tailback Zac Stacy should also benefit from the linemens’ work. Stacy was one of the league’s best running backs over the second half of the season after racking up 973 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. And a large portion of his stats were accumulated after Bradford went down with a knee injury. The backfield will also feature Tre Mason, a third-rounder out of Auburn who’s slated for change-of-pace duties.

Besides the running game and O-line, one more definite strength for St. Louis will be their pass rush. The team returns Robert Quinn and Chris Long at defensive end, and Michael Brockers and Kendall Langford at tackle – this group combined for 38 sacks together. Look for the D-line to be even nastier with the second-round selection of Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald.

In most other divisions, the Rams would still have a shot at making the postseason. They have depth on defense and some nice offensive pieces in Robinson, Stacy and Mason. However, they’ll be playing six games against the Cardinals, Seahawks and Niners – three superior teams. So look for St. Louis to play out this season and search for an insurance quarterback in the draft.