I am an avid college football fan so when I began to pay attention to the Baylor University football team, they had a quarterback by the name of Robert Griffin III or his nickname RGIII. He was dynamic and exciting. He was bringing a new flavor to the college game’s, that had been missing since Vince Young. The media thought he was the next best thing and I myself thought he was going to be an elite quarterback.
During the 2012 draft, the media hype up the top two quarterbacks going into the draft, which was RGIII and Andrew Luck. The Colts, who still had Peyton Manning, who just missed the season due to neck surgery and they had the number one pick. The Colts ended up drafting Andrew Luck first overall and the Washington Redskins who was in dire need yet again for a quarterback drafted Robert Griffin III.
During his rookie season, Mike Shannahan ran the pistol offense with RG3 and Alfred Morris. They ran that offense so fluent and tricked the defense a lot because they didn’t know who had the ball. The only problem was when RGIII ran, he didn’t know how to slide or get out of bounds. He was absorbing contact and that’s not a good sign. He ended up injuring his knee against the Baltimore Ravens. That didn’t stop him because the Redskins had to win out to make the playoffs. They made it to week 17 with the division on the line in FedEx field. The Redskins was a Tony Romo interception away from losing, they won and advanced to the playoffs since 2004.
This made everyone in Washington excited and happy again. They felt a sense of hope and accomplishment. He gave the franchise their first division title since 1999, which was a long time for fans.The city came alive again and a sense that the suffering was over, or was it?
In the playoffs, we played Seattle at FedEx field. Griffen was moving the ball at ease against a very talented defense, lead by Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas just to name a few. I had a good feeling we would win the game until Griffin was injured. He fumbled the snap and while trying to recover it, the already injured knee twisted and left Griffin on the ground and a sense of quiet filled the stadium. It was like the life and excitement were taken from the whole franchise in the blink of an eye. The game continued but the team was not the same and they went on to lose and the drought of a playoff win since the 2005 season continued.
RGIII diagnosis was a torn ACL, which was horrible for him and ended his magical season. He went at his rehab hard and he coined the catchphrase ” All in for week one” which a lot of fans believed in, including me. He posted his rehab videos and were doing things that were beautiful on the field. High expectations was swirling around the team and their accomplishments. RGIII was the rookie of the year so of course, everyone wanted to see him do well.
Rumors started to swirl around that then-coach Mike Shannahan didn’t like Griffin and he should not have played him against Seattle because he was already injured. I believed he made the right choice; it was the playoffs, it’s win or you go home, so why not take a risk and put your best product on the field. Other rumors were that Griffin could not read a defense, he locks in on his first read and he is not a pocket passer.
When the 2013 season came around, the Redskins started off losing to the division rival Eagles. The bleeding was just starting. The team was fighting with each other, the owner and coach were fighting and of course, Griffin was the center of it all because he was injured again and the team got swept by the entire NFC East and finished with a record of 3-13 which was not the expectation. That put a bad taste in the fans mouths again, it was the same old Redskins, Snyder can’t get right and losing started to become acceptable in the fan base.
Griffen was rehabbing another offseason and coach Shannahan was fired, Jay Gruden was hired and more drama started. Gruden wanted to start Kirk Cousins instead of Griffin and that shocked a lot of people. The owner, Daniel Snyder was not having that and he wanted his man Griffen on the field. Gruden compiled and started the 2014 season with Griffin was the starter. Players on the team didn’t like it because they thought Kirk Cousins moved the offense better. During this season, RGIII got hurt again, which gave Cousins a chance to start. He showed he was an interception machine so people wanted Griffin back. The season ended again miserably 4-12 and last for the 7th time in ten seasons in the NFC east. The team was embarrassed along with the owner who called for change.
A new general manager was brought into town by the name of Scott McClaughan, he was known to build teams into winners but his personal demons was alcohol. He began to draft and sign players who fit the scheme. We were trying to win again and that including phasing out Griffin. This did not go well with the some of the fan base and it started a divide the fans and players on the team. Those who wanted RGIII and those who wanted Cousins. That’s not a good thing to have in a locker room during a team sport. The offensive line seemed to not lock for rg3 but when kirk cousins came in they gave him all sorts of time. The play calling was different for both quarterbacks. It was rumored that Gruden was purposely calling plays to make RGII I look bad and to make Cousins shine so he can get his man to start. It worked and your new starter for 2015 season was Kirk Cousins.
Griffin the once poster boy, the love, heart, and soul of this team was on the outside looking in. He didn’t even dress for games and did not take a snap the entire season. It was depressing for him and his fan base. He was not on the team anymore by mid-summer, he was cut by the team which was expected and signed with the Cleveland Browns.
THE RISE… MAYBE…..
It’s only preseason but Griffen has been looking terrific with his new team and new wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. They have not won a preseason game but Griffin’s numbers have been excellent and looking better than past years. He seems to be happy, have his confidence back but something have not changed and that’s the drama that surrounds him. He announced he was divorcing his wife and the tabloids exploited his now new girlfriend. This is a distraction that a team does not need during this time where they need to be focusing on getting ready for the upcoming season. Griffen is still causing a division with the Redskins fan base even though he is on another team. People who were Redskins fans have switched teams to follow their beloved quarterback and some still root for the skins but they back Griffin as well. Then you have some that just plain don’t like him and they love Kirk Cousins. You have those who don’t like Kirk Cousins. My opinion, that mess with the fan base needs to stop. We need to come together as one to rally around the players on the field of our team. I loved Griffin but I will not switch teams to follow him. Players come and go but my love for the Redskins is for a lifetime
Written by: Melvin Jackson III