In the off-season prior to the 2012 NFL campaign, I looked at the Redskins‘ roster and predicted a 7-9 finish. That was based on the horrendous quarterback play of Rex Grossman and John Beck that led to the 5-11 record in the previous year. Of course, Robert Griffin III had been drafted and hadn’t played a single down in the NFL, but I figured anybody was worth two more wins over the moribund Rex-Beck combo, even if there was no improvement at any other roster positions.
Fast forward to today’s 38-20 thumping at the hands of the Green Bay Packers and I see the fruits of that 6-10 prediction coming to bear, but just a year late. Today’s game, and last week’s season opening debacle against the Philadelphia Eagles were effectively the Redskins’ final pre-season tune-ups as the team thinks it’s working to bang the rust off of RG3’s game.
It should be clear that The Redskins have demonstrated that the NFL is a quarterback-centric league. More than ever, teams look towards their quarterback to lead and need their quarterback to be effective. You used to be able to win championships on defense alone as the Baltimore Ravens did in 2000 with Tony Banks and Trent Dilfer at the helm, but no longer. All the perennial playoff contenders now have great quarterbacks. Last year, RG3’s mobility and the Redskins willingness to use it made him a great quarterback, and the team contended with an otherwise very ordinary roster.
Whether you choose to believe Griffin was ready to play on his reconstructed knee last week or not, it’s clear that the Redskins are not allowing him to be the mobile threat that made the offense click in 2012. RG3 made Alfred Morris a star, he made the offensive line look cohesive, and he made an average bunch of wide-outs look extremely competent. This year it’s been shown that when opponents don’t need to defend against his mobility, they will defeat the Redskins. Against the Packers today, Griffin had four rushing attempts for one yard; a clear bear market indicator.
The Philadelphia Eagles ruined Donovan McNabb by turning him into a pocket passer and their performance degraded the less McNabb ran. The Redskins run the same risk with RG3. Either let him run, or get him out of the game until he’s ready. Mentally, Robert is ready but I don’t know if his knee is and the team needs its quarterback to lead now more than ever. #HTTR!