Washington Redskins star quarterback Robert Griffin III hasn’t exactly looked like a star in his second season in the league, and he’s proof that running quarterbacks just aren’t as effective overall when they are hurt. Want other examples? Just take a look at two others from this season in both the NFL and college football. Marcus Mariota hasn’t been the same while slogging through a sprained MCL, and Michael Vick’s hamstring injury rendered him absolutely useless when he did try to play.
Griffin seemed to make incredible progress from the ACL tear he suffered last season, but maybe that progress was superficial. Maybe the Redskins didn’t play things prudently with their QB of the future and exaggerated the positives.
But one thing’s for sure: he took an absolute beating last night. The 49ers brought the heat on RG3 with an excellent pass rush from edge rushers Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks, and it led to sacks and QB hits galore for the elite Niners defense. Griffin looked almost helpless out there, as he doesn’t have the agility to be as effective of a rusher due to his injury. He only ran for 22 yards on six carries, and he’s only averaged 5.1 yards per carry overall this season. By comparison, he averaged 22 more yards per game on the ground last season than he has this year, and he also averaged nearly two yards more per carry.
Those numbers cannot be ignored, and it’s clear that RG3’s surgically repaired knee isn’t at 100%. That has made his flaws as a passer look even bigger, because he can no longer keep defenses as honest with his rushing ability or mask some of his issues with being a pure passer by taking off and running.
Brooks had two sacks on RG3 but gave Griffin plenty of praise for his toughness and went as far as to say that RG3’s knee is so bad that the Redskins QB shouldn’t even be playing. Via ESPN, “He’s a man, he has the heart of a warrior and is going to go out there and play regardless of the circumstance. Everybody can see it. Everybody can see it. He shouldn’t be playing.”
Those are strong words, and they are too strong for my liking. “Shouldn’t be playing”? Too strong. I see no issues with Griffin being out there, but I do see issues with the way the Redskins handled the injury initially and with the criticism that the Redskins offense and RG3 have taken. To me, the biggest problem with this team is a secondary that made Christian Ponder look like an All-Pro in a prime-time game just a couple of weeks ago.