NFL

Robert Griffin III: Head Injury Will Force QB to Become Pocket Passer

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 07: Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins is attended to after taking a hard hit against the Atlanta Falcons in the third quarter at FedExField on October 7, 2012 in Landover, Maryland. Robert Griffin III left the game after the hit. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Steven GerwelContributor IIIJanuary 14, 2015

Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III took his complaints to the media after his Week 2 encounter with a physical St. Louis Rams team, where he was allegedly the victim of overly aggressive hits and extracurricular scuffles. 

"They were doing a lot of dirty things," Griffin told the Washington Times. "The game was unprofessional."

No fines were handed down against any Rams players for their hits on Griffin, but his blunt complaining only two games into his career made it clear that it's possible for defenders to get inside his head. 

Not that Atlanta's Sean Weatherspoon had any malicious intent, but the thunderous hit he put on RGIII wasn't exactly unexpected either. 

Griffin made it clear only two games into his career that he has a problem with taking hits. As a result, that's exactly what defenders are trying to give him. 

Griffin was forced to leave Sunday's game with a head injury, forcing fellow rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins to make his NFL debut and finish the game against the Falcons. 

Redskins QB Kirk Cousins on the field making his NFL debut. @rgiii took an elbow to the head and left the game.

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 7, 2012

Griffin left the game after going 10-for-15 with 91 yards. Cousins was 5-for-9 with 111 yards and a touchdown, but he also had two interceptions during the Redskins' 24-17 loss to the undefeated Falcons. 

But Sunday's game holds little importance to the Redskins. The future is what truly matters, and that future depends on protecting their franchise quarterback. 

Griffin's mouth isn't the only thing putting a target on his back. Just the fact that he's a scrambling quarterback gives defenders a license to hit him like a running back.

If the Redskins want RGIII to have a lengthy career, they'll need to transform him into a pocket passer. 

The scrambling abilities are nice, but unlike Michael Vick and Cam Newton, RGIII has the arm to be elite passer.

Rather than designing run plays for their quarterback, the Redskins need to teach Griffin to stay in the pocket and to cross the line of scrimmage only as a last resort. 

Sure, that strategy will limit his potential. But it won't limit him as much as a career-ending injury on a run play. 

For the sake of Griffin's career, let's hope he learns to live in the pocket from now on. 

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