By Kevin Ross II
Time after time, the pocket collapses on Robert Griffin III and he finds himself on the wrong end of vicious shots to the head, torso, and legs. What good can come of that?
This quarterback has certainly earned his man card this season, and his toughness is something that only a fool could question. This upcoming offseason will be a huge one for Griffin, who needs every second of it to work on his game. But how far would Griffin’s career be set back if he was to experience another devastating injury during the last four weeks of this meaningless season?
The Redskins should be counting their lucky stars that Griffin has made it this far into the year without being carted off of the field. When you look at the shots that Griffin has taken this season, some are on him, but for the most part the offensive line is to blame for the potential career-ending hits that Griffin seems to shake off with ease.
With the Redskins being eliminated from playoff contention, Mike Shanahan has kept to the script that nothing will change from a coaching or a player’s perspective, and that veterans will not be demoted in favor of younger players or practice squad guys. Shanahan continues with business as usual, as if winning is still the franchise’s number one goal. However, in doing so, Shanahan fails to see the big picture. And this is why it’s dangerous to not offer your Head Coach/General Manager a contract extension. Shanahan should be evaluating the organization from a long term perspective, and should see the minimal value associated with the remainder of this season. Instead he’s seeing things from a myopic point of view as he fights for his job.
The obvious goal of the franchise from this point on should have nothing to do with winning, and should have everything to do with keeping RG3 healthy. This is why Griffin should be benched for the remainder of the season.
Some would argue that Griffin needs to play to get more reps as a pocket passer. Claiming that by sitting Griffin, the team will actually retard his growth because each snap is valuable. But the problem with that argument is that Griffin is not learning how to be a pocket passer because he’s afraid for his life in the pocket. Playing Griffin behind this offensive line is a curse to his career. And whatever offseason plan that the coaching staff has invented to rejuvenate Griffin should start right now.
Others will say that playing Kirk Cousins will add more drama to the pot, but that’s simply sports radio talk and that argument deserves little credence. If Cousins plays well then his trade value goes through the roof, and the Redskins might be able to trade him for a first round pick by dealing with teams such as Oakland, Cleveland, or Minnesota. And if Cousins stinks the joint up, then no harm, no foul. The Redskins won’t trade him, and he’ll be this team’s backup for the next 5-10 seasons.
The media circus surrounding the benching of Robert Griffin would be astronomical, but there is always a media circus waltzing around Redskins Park, so what would change? However, the one thing that the media would appreciate from coach Shanahan is the truth.
The truth is, Griffin should not play meaningless football because he’s not healthy enough to do so. Every opponent that the Redskins face all mirror the same sentiment about Griffin not being healthy. And every viewer watching on their television sets can clearly see that Griffin is ailing and not himself as he gets chased down by defensive tackles.
Griffin is obviously not a hundred percent healthy, and risking the franchise quarterback behind the league’s worst offensive line makes little sense when the games don’t count anymore. Bench Griffin, and let his offseason start today.
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Kevin Ross is a freelance writer covering all things Washington Redskins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.