No matter how much they meddle, team owners not named Jerry Jones very rarely dictate the style of offense being run by their coaching staffs. And thus, there's only so much they can control when it comes to protecting their franchise quarterbacks.
But that didn't stop Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay from ruffling feathers 500 miles to the east with a pair of controversial sentences regarding Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins in an exclusive interview with Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star.
If the Colts had...ended up with the second pick in the draft, would they have drafted Robert Griffin III and let Manning go? Irsay said yes. He would have drafted RGIII, he said, but put him in a less run-happy offense.
"I wouldn't have exposed him to injury in the same way they have in Washington," Irsay said. "My philosophy on quarterbacks is, first and foremost, you've got to keep them healthy and on the field."
Irsay is overestimating his team's ability to protect quarterbacks. His offensive line is much worse than Washington's, and Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post points to numbers from Advanced NFL Stats and NFL.com that indicate Andrew Luck took significantly more hits than Griffin did in 2012.
And don't forget about season-ending/career-threatening injuries suffered in recent years by Colts quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Kerry Collins.
But he's right about the fact RG3 wasn't protected well enough. The 'Skins went overboard with the read-option and didn't do a good enough job ingraining a cautionary approach in Griffin from the get-go. He took too many unnecessary hits and risked limbs when the potential reward didn't justify it on too many occasions.
That's not an easy thing to hone and control, but it should have been the coaching staff's top priority from day one. They saw what happened to Michael Vick and other mobile quarterbacks who took off too often, and they didn't enforce strict enough guidelines on Griffin's style.
And then there was that wild-card playoff game against Seattle, where you could argue that RG3 shouldn't have even been playing due to a knee injury. Throw in the piss-poor condition of the turf at FedEx Field, which may or may not have played a role in Griffin becoming re-injured, and there's definitely justification for pointing a finger at the Redskins organization.
The fact of the matter is that the team didn't foster Griffin enough as a pass-first, pocket quarterback, ran too much of a dangerous offense and generally didn't do enough to keep him out of harm's way. Irsay is implying, I believe, that Griffin would have been better off as more of a pocket passer who runs as a last resort. And while he probably shouldn't have been the guy to say it, I believe he is right about that.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!