Earlier this week, the Washington Redskins confirmed the worst kept secret in town. Team President Bruce Allen said that the team will not retain former franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III, meaning, the team intends to move forward with Kirk Cousins. The team can release Griffin at any time, up until March 9 at 4 PM. If Griffin is still on the Redskins’ roster, he would count 16.155 million dollars against the Redskins cap. For a guy that was the third string quarterback, running the scout team in practices, and never active on Sundays, simple economics dictate that’s just not going to happen.
And, in light of that, one really has to look at Griffin as a guy that has basically taken off an entire year. He’s had plenty of time to let his body heal from the litany of injuries he suffered in his first two seasons in the league. His style of play, the one that captivated everyone so here in Texas, while he was at Baylor, transferred to the NFL for about eight or nine weeks. Then, as they say, everyone catches up to you, because, the other team now has film.
He suffered a concussion in a game against Atlanta, mid-way through the 2012 season (rookie year). He came back from that, only to be crushed by then Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, that saw Griffin’s leg get twisted underneath him as he fell. He was given the next week off against Cleveland, to allow time for his leg to heal. The same leg was a constant source of fodder for the talking heads and pundits around the D.C. area, It then came to light that, despite assurances from then head coach Mike Shanahan that team doctor, the renowned Dr. James Andrews had cleared Griffin on December 9, Andrews had, in fact, not given Griffin clearance. In the playoff game against Seattle, Griffin’s knee crumpled, and he was done. Shortly thereafter, Andrews performed surgery to repair Griffin’s ACL and LCL.
Damning evidence, to be sure. Just to play it safe, the team held him out of the entire pre-season, and wouldn’t name him the full-time starter, despite Griffin and his ad campaign of “All In For Week 1”. And, once Griffin began to play, success was difficult, as he learned that, given time to prepare, the coaches in the NFL are ready for anything. His poor play led Shanahan to bench him for the remaining three games of the 2013 season, to avoid the risk of further injury, the coach claimed.
2014 saw Griffin dislocate his left ankle in Week Two. When he returned from that injury, he lost the next three games in which he was the starter. He was benched in favor of Colt McCoy. Following a neck injury to McCoy, he looked like his old self, even eclipsing the 300 yard mark in the final week.
2015 opened with coach Jay Gruden (Shanahan was fired after 2013) say the quarterback would be Griffin, only to name Cousins as their starter before the season began play. Griffin sunk down the depth chart, which brings us to today.
Should the Eagles bring in Griffin for a physical? On one hand, it might not hurt. He’s two years removed from the knee surgery, a full season away from the ankle surgery, and he’s had none of the bumps and bruises associated with playing a full season. On the other hand, Griffin has shown to be a bit of a “glass” quarterback. He has a history of injuries and concussions. His production has been sporadic, at best. I guess it all depends on one question: Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
I say don’t take the chance. The team keeps playing footsie with Sam Bradford, wanting him to return. And, as much as it pains me to say this, I think he will be back. The only issue for Bradford, right now, is that he knows he’s not going to get a mega-deal, not from the Eagles, and really, not from anyone. Chase Daniel’s name keeps being bandied about, but that’s mainly for his familiarity with the new offense new head coach Doug Pedersen will bring. Griffin will want to run, as a quarterback. Jason Peters can’t even stay healthy enough to keep himself upright, much less, a mobile quarterback. And, any running done by the Eagles in 2016 will most assuredly have to go through Demarco Murray. His contract pretty much dictates that fact. In Philadelphia, Griffin would have to be your classic drop-back passer, and that’s just not his game.
Griffin could be an amazing talent, somewhere, given the right circumstances. He could also be the next name in a long line of flameouts like Jamarcus Russel, and Tony Mandarich. In this case, in my opinion, the risk is greater than any potential reward. Someone will sign Griffin. That’s a guarantee. Let’s all just hope team owner Jeffrey Lurie can stay away from the potential “big name”, and continue to clean up the mess left behind by Chip Kelly.
Photo: Evan Vucci- Associated Press