Thursday, 20 November 2014

Let's Talk About Robert

We are going to talk about an NFL player who in his third season in professional sport is quickly becoming one of the most troubled young stars not through off-the-field issues for once, but for his conduct and lack of performance on the field.

Robert Griffin III was drafted by the Washington franchise three years ago with the second overall pick, in a trade deal where they went all in on the Baylor quarterback who had won the Heisman Trophy at a canter following his scintillating play in Art Briles' system.

Behind Andrew Luck, RG3 was considered to be one of the future elite signal callers in the game. However, not all has gone to plan for the QB as serious injury led to him failing in his first play-off game and then repeated injuries has led to a quarterback contest with Kirk Cousins, his back-up and now his continued poor play upon return from a dislocated ankle has led to calls for the team to drop him and play Colt McCoy.

Now playing McCoy would be the wrong thing to do and a cry for help, however, RG3's play has been absolutely woeful in recent weeks. The failure to make plays down the field with his arm, failure to extend plays with his legs due to a fear of re-injurying himself, the failure to protect himself from constant pressure has led many to call him a deer in the headlights.

Nevermind that, he is a very big deer. He cannot read defences, he does not throw away the ball quickly to avoid a hit, he has talented receivers who do not get the ball. You could question the offensive line for failing to defend their franchise man under centre, much like the Carolina Panthers are failing to protect Cam Newton this season.

Both men look like shadows of their former selves yet it should not be forgotten that neither of them came into the league as renowned passers, this has not improved for either of them. Whilst Cam has improved in the pocket, for RG3 it sometimes resembles a heave and hope format, whereas Luck's mechanics are second to none. Cam is helped by his height, RG3 is short in comparison - yet Russell Wilson (drafter in the third round by Seattle in the same draft as Luck/Griffin) is the best passer on the run in the league and is even shorter than both of them.

Griffin is guilty of having a meteoric rise far too quickly and guilty of cashing in on his own talent. He trained for the combine and impressed a lot of people and had a televisual charm in abundance, however, he is being spoilt by an owner who will bend to his every wish.  You can change the coaches, the co-ordinators but sometimes you have to expect better results from a starting quarterback who should be maturing by now and instead this week has been involved in a back and forth tittle tattle with his coach Jay Gruden via the national media.

Don't worry though it should be easier for Griffin this week on the road in San Francisco against a rejuvenated defence who will be salivating at the thought of getting to Griffin numerous times. Then they face the porous Colts so some respite might arrive, before a home game versus the St. Louis Rams who made Peyton Manning's life a misery on Sunday gone.

This is before the NFC East stretch at the Giants and before two home games versus the Eagles and Cowboys. All teams are built on having a capable pass rush, my prediction is the Rams game on 7th December may be the final coffin for the team, as it is at home where the fans may be their most vocal in asking for Griffin to be sat for the rest of the season. They are 3-7 meaning the Raiders will not win that many to make the Redskins get the overall first draft pick with Marcus Mariota earmarked to be the first quarterback off the board.

So what is the solution for the Redskins?  Oh god, lets talk about Jameis

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