Washington’s memorable season came to a disheartening end last night. The playoff loss to Seattle ended with Robert Griffin III laying hurt and helpless on the ground at FedEx Field after his injured knee buckled badly late in the 4th quarter. The worst possible ending for the Redskins and by far the greatest fear for Washington faithful everywhere. It was unsettling to watch to say the least.
Debates on the management of RG3’s health status have already begun. Whether Griffin should have stayed in the game after further tweaking his knee late in the first quarter? Or if RG3 should even have started in the first place? These questions will follow and certainly haunt coach Mike Shanahan until next season.
I did not have a problem with RG3 starting against Seattle. He is the leader of the Redskins offense. Yes, Griffin was limited, but he started (finished and won) the 2 prior games to even make the playoffs. Telling me that he was good enough to at least start against the Seahawks.
Near the end of the first quarter when Griffin came up limping, that’s when I feel the switch to Kirk Cousins should have been made. It was clear to me that he had suffered a set-back regarding his previous injury. After that play, Griffin had trouble putting weight on his right leg. Meaning he couldn’t distribute his weight to plant and throw accordingly. It is paramount in the NFL to have a passing threat and Griffin was no longer a threat. 80-some yards passing will not win very many NFL games, let alone playoff games.
Players playing through injury isn’t always the best option for a team. A recent postseason example would be Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger last season. Roethlisberger played with a high ankle sprain, but he wasn’t able to play at the high level he is accustom to. Hindsight, the Redskins offense stalled out after that bootleg play before the second touchdown. The switch from RG3 to Cousins should have been made for health reasons and game management purposes by halftime at the latest.
I do want to make one thing clear. I’ve heard RG3 described as a running quarterback, which I think is complete hog-wash. To say I vehemently disagree with that assessment would be a huge understatement. He is a very capable quarterback who can beat anyone from the pocket (3,200 yards passing, 20 TD passes). Who also possesses the ability to take off at anytime and hurt a defense. That’s called play-making in my book.
Because RG3 wasn’t able to run as much as before the knee sprain doesn’t mean he solely relies on the run to have success as a quarterback. Why can’t people see the plain and simple fact he was playing hurt?
Any quarterback playing on a powerless knee would have faced the same problem RG3 faced: A blitz happy defense that is seemingly impossible to get away from.