Through two games Robert Griffin III has almost 650 passing yards and 5 touchdowns, and these are stats that on the surface seem like a sign of growth in his ability as a pocket passer. If you have watched these games however, you know that most of these yards were racked up in garbage time after his bad play put his team behind enough that the opposing defense could afford to play soft coverage during the second half. It is clear that something is wrong with RG3, but what isn’t clear is who is to blame for it. Today in the Footbawl Blog’s prestigious court room the Redskins are charged with eleven counts of mishandling the return of their franchise quarterback. We might see them in court again down the road once they are eventually charged with, “having a seriously racist ass logo, man.”
Today Ben Van Iten will be the prosecuting attorney, while Nate Raby will be handling the defense. These are their closing statements.
The prosecutor rises from his chair and is on the move. It is worth noting that he is holding a football. When Ben reaches the bailiff he sticks the ball into the man’s gut, and dramatically pulls it away again before sprinting right up to the jury and stopping on a dime.
Ben: Do not be frightened by my athleticism, I only use my physical prowess for good.
The jury foreman sighs.
What you saw right there, was the zone read.
Ben: You tried to follow the ball with your eyes, didn’t you? But you couldn’t.
Most of the jury nods emphatically that they could.
It’s like that carnival game where they have an object under one of three cups, and they move the cups around really fast. The next thing you know you’ve lost your life savings trying to win that game and have to hitch hike home with some weirdo and then you have trust issues for the rest of your life.
Ben stares into the distance for a moment, quietly reflecting.
Anyway, the zone read used to be a big staple of the Redskins offense. It used to strike fear into the defense, because even though they could live with Alfred Morris getting five yards up the middle for a while, eventually the end would lose discipline and RG3 would keep the ball and gain twenty five yards before you could blink. These days the zone read has become a glorified handoff. Robert himself has 9 yards rushing through two games, which means he is on pace for 72 yards this season…Peyton Manning might accidentally gain more than that.
Now, I’m all for trying to protect Robert more and having him run less, but it’s obvious that he did not come back ready to play. His throwing motion seems slightly different, he isn’t putting his weight into throws, and he is either too scared or too injured to move like he used to. If it is all in his head, and his health isn’t an issue, why didn’t Shanahan let him play a few snaps in the preseason just to get a feel for the game? And if he isn’t 100%, why in the hell is he on that football field right now? Either way, I don’t like the way this has been handled. I think players do and should play hurt all the time, but this is different. This is a franchise quarterback that you traded multiple years of your draft to get. While RG3 is no slouch as a passer, just dropping back in the pocket and letting the ball fly is not his strong suit at this point. The more cautious he is, and he looks cautious as shit at this point, the more likely it is that he is going to get himself injured again.
I know what Nate is going to say. He’s going to say, “Robert was the one who was being a dick and wearing that ridiculous Patience shirt and lobbying to play all the time, and Shanahan was the one exercising caution” but he is the player and in the end his input should be taken with a certain grain of salt because OF COURSE HE WANTS TO PLAY. Another thing Nate might say is, “HEY BEN YOU’RE THE PERRY MASON TO MY OTHER GUY WHOSE NAME I CAN’T REMEMBER CAUSE HE ALWAYS LOSES!”
Ben high fives a reluctant juror.
Hindsight is 20/20, and we all wanted to see Robert on the field this year. But somewhere along the way the organization should have realized that playing it safe with their most valuable player in a year that they were unlikely to win the Super Bowl is almost never a bad idea. The prosecution rests.
As Ben walks back to his desk, Nate stands up quickly and swats the ball out of Ben’s hand.
Nate: JJ Watt ain’t got shit on me.
Nate swings around and faces the jury.
Now I know you were all just blinded by Ben’s amazing athletic accomplishment, but try to listen for a few minutes. Ben was partly right when he guessed that I would talk about the pressure Shanahan felt to get RG3 back. He was wrong, however, when he said it was pressure from Griffin himself. He’s right; players only know how to say “I’m ready to play” and “eat this $5 foot long.” They’re easy to ignore in that regard. So I don’t think the pressure that forced RG3 in early was necessarily from Griffin.
No, I think it was FROM ALL OF YOU.
He wildly points at the jury, all of whom look particularly unimpressed. Someone coughs. It may be the judge.
The return of RG3 campaign got so much attention because the media and the fans wanted it. They were excited by Griffin, and who wouldn’t be? He played better than most veterans in his rookie season. Clearly he is a special talent.
But you took it too far. You reported every day in Washington on how his recovery was going. You vocalized every time how important he was to this team. You said, in no uncertain terms, that Washington was absolutely nothing without Griffin under center. And you didn’t care how much that made Kirk Cousins cry. You monsters.
Now before I go on, I want you to expand your minds. Move from football to an entirely different sport.
Remember this guy?
Nate puts this picture on the screen. A Chicago Bears fan from the jury begins uncontrollably sobbing and muttering things about Joakim Noah’s hair.
This guy had a media hype train about his return too. He was going to come back from his ACL tear to dominate the sport once again, and he sold shoes and T-shirts celebrating the fact. But then he didn’t return, and that’s because the Bulls knew they could afford to waste a year. Hell, they’ve had success before Rose. What’s one year of knowing you’re not going to contend?
But here’s the main point. The main reason you can’t blame the Redskins for rushing RG3 back.
The Washington Redskins are not the Chicago fucking Bulls.
Can you blame this team who had been told over and over again that they needed him to win? Who couldn’t be mentioned without those three roman numerals? Who had been a laughingstock in the NFL for almost two decades before Griffin showed up? This isn’t on Washington. Washington couldn’t help itself! What do you expect to happen? Think of a person who has crawled through the desert for a few weeks without water. He finally gets a glass of water, and it tastes so good. Like the nectar of the Godsd. Like Peyton Manning’s sweat. And then you tell him, “Hey, thirsty Mike Shanahan, you can have some more of that water right now, or you can go without water for like 5 weeks and then have unlimited water later.” Do you really think he’s going to wait 5 weeks after how thirsty he is? After how good that water tasted? After how shitty his team has been for so long?
Oops, the analogy broke. You know what I mean.
There was no chance the Redskins were going to slowly bring RG3 back, no matter the implications, because they experienced winning for the first time and were afraid to go back to the abyss. They didn’t have the forethought. But the media, and the fans clamoring for it? You knew better. You knew what would happen. And you told them they needed the water now. I hope you’re pleased with yourselves.
The defense rests.
The jury can now give their verdict in the comments section.