I would be out of line if I were to compare Robert Griffin III to Michael Vick. Unlike Vick when he came out of Virginia Tech, Griffin is predominantly a pass first, run second quarterback. However, that was at Baylor. This isn’t college, these aren’t Big 12 defenses he’ll be playing, and it’s only natural that a young quarterback will be a little more flustered at the next level.
Standing at 6’2 we can expect Griffin to be running a lot more in the NFL than he did in college. This of course leads us back to Michael Vick who is similar in stature and skill and has had a career littered with periodic injuries. There isn’t a proper way to go about predicting how the health of a prospect will hold up in the NFL, so I won’t say either way whether he’ll break Brett Favre’s record for consecutive games or fall miserably short. But to be completely honest, I’m not worried about RG3’s health—in fact I’m not worried about anything. I think he’s an outstanding quarterback who could have a better career than Andrew Luck. What I am worried about is his situation.
Griffin will actually find himself surrounded with some talent. The Skins signed Pierre Garcon, they’ve got a pretty solid running game, they’ll have Chris Cooley back, and their offensive line, in my opinion, is actually underrated. Unfortunately none of that really matters when dissecting Robert Griffin III’s career path. It is all trumped by the fact that he will be a Washington Redskin. If you’re a Redskins fan in the back of your mind you’ve at least got to be a tad worried, right? Redskins fans should be worried the same way Cleveland Browns fans would if they were the ones who landed the second pick from the Rams, so this isn’t a personal jab at Washington.
The fact of the matter is that some NFL franchises just make their fans really uneasy. Over the last decade or so these franchises have been Oakland, Buffalo, Cleveland, Washington, and Detroit. You can even throw Dallas in there. When it comes to these franchises we simply have to take everything they do with a grain of salt and we have to go about assessing them differently than we would any other team. These franchises epitomize the term “on paper.” Lately, it really hasn’t mattered what these teams have done “on paper." For whatever reasons, these franchises have dealt with a serious case of bad mojo.
The Washington Redskins don’t quite have the resume to contend with the likes of the Chicago Cubs or the Los Angeles Clippers, but if Dan Snyder remains the teams owner for the next thirty years they might not be that far off.
Look, I have nothing bad to say about Snyder. Truth be told, I actually think he’s a good owner. Yes, I said it. I think Dan Snyder is a good owner. He does all the little things right that so few NFL franchises manage to do. He gives the Washington fan base mad, mad hope nearly every season. In the NFL, where so many fans live vicariously through their teams, Dan Snyder gives Skins‘ fans plenty of reason to keep on keeping on even if several months later they find themselves wanting to overrun the franchise as if it were an 18th century dictatorship.
I believe RG3 could potentially be a better talent than Andrew Luck and ultimately have a better career. I’m not even a Skins fan and I’m in love with him. But Washington’s history scares me. I can’t sit here and say—with any degree of confidence—that Robert Griffin III will be a homerun for this franchise. Trading up with St. Louis to get Griffin was no different than paying Albert Haynesworth $100 million. It’s no different than hiring Mike Shanahan out of retirement. It is no different than trading for Donovan McNabb. Believe it or not, all of the aforementioned moves looked really good on paper. Anytime you can swipe a future HOF quarterback, HOF coach, and the most dominant defensive tackle in the game you’re making your team better. Sadly, this wasn’t (and hasn’t) been the case.
Maybe RG3 will finally be the guy that ends all of this Dan Snyder hysteria, or maybe, just maybe the Redskins under Snyder’s ownership are just the NFL equivalent to LeBron James in fourth quarters. By that, I mean they’re dealing with more than X’s and O’s. They’re dealing with demons. But hey, if there’s one player I could see changing all that, it’s Robert Griffin III.