09/30/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak
A Heisman Trophy in his final season in college. Offensive Player of the Week after his first NFL game. Leading the Washington Redskins to their first division title in 13 years. And finally winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. From all of that to being deactivated as the Redskins 3rd team quarterback. So what has happened to Robert Griffin III
Some say it was being overexposed too fast. Former NFL coach Bill Parcell's bought into (or sold) that theory recently. Saying that too many young players are given endorsement deals before they really prove anything in the NFL. That the endorsements and exposure is too much too soon, and that the off the field stuff takes away from what they should be doing on the field. That these young players are being given these lucrative deals which leads to them believing they're better than they actually are. I see Parcell's point, but I don't think that's the problem in RG III's case.
Another theory is one that is actually factual. En route to that division title in 2012, Griffin suffered partially torn knee ligaments in Week 14 of the regular season. It's been said that Griffin wasn't cleared by doctors to return to the game when then Redskins coach Mike Shanahan sent RG III back in to play in the 4th quarter. He sat out one game, was back on the field as a starter in Week 16. He also played in Washington's playoff game against Seattle, where he further sustained injury that required is ACL and LCL to be surgically repaired. When the 2013 season opened, RG III didn't look the same as the rookie phenom he was the season before. He would be benched for the final 3 games of the season. Things didn't get better for him in 2014, when he suffered an ankle injury in the 2nd game of the season and was benched again later in the season. Which led to the start of this season, which RG III started as the Redskins 3rd quarterback and was inactive for the season opener. Looking back to that 2012 season, maybe if Griffin doesn't get rushed back to play while he was obviously still injured, he heals and comes back strong. But if that would have been the case, the Redskins likely would not have won the division and possibly would've missed the playoffs without RG III.
Which leads to this final theory. The Washington Redskins have as much to do with RG III's demise as anything else, if nor more so than anything else. Let's face it, Washington is an awful franchise. It's a joke. It's been a joke since 1999 when Daniel Snyder bought the team. Snyder has continuously overpaid for big name free agents who never lived up to the expected hype in a Redskins jersey. See Albert Haynesworth, Deion Sanders, Adam Archuleta, Jeff George, and Antwaan Randle El, as prime of examples of players who were entering the past their prime status, or were never would be's overvalued and overpaid for by Snyder, thus preventing the Redskins from bringing in quality depth. Washington's offensive line is bad. Their secondary may be worse. Those are both problems for a quarterback since, you know, the job of offensive linemen is to protect the quarterback. And if a teams secondary is getting torched game in and game out, that leads to a QB having to play from behind game in and game out. That's not a winning formula for anybody, yet alone a guy like Griffin who's running was as much a part of his success as his deep passing was.
It's probably time for RG III to move on. Especially since current coach Jay Gruden doesn't think enough of Griffin to even get him in uniform. Of course, Gruden doesn't seem to be much of a head coach looking at some of his other decisions and use of players. And since the average tenure of a coach under Snyder is about 2 seasons, he may not be here much longer pending on how the Redskins finish this season.
I think another team will give Griffin a chance and that if he can adjust his playing style, he may just find success again in the NFL. I'm not sure that success and the Washington Redskins are two things that will coincide again though.
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