A year removed from their first postseason appearance since 2007, the Washington Redskins are fading fast. Even with a successful return from offseason surgery, quarterback Robert Griffin III won't be able to stop the bleeding.
Washington ended last season with seven straight wins, snatching the NFC East and lifting its dynamic young quarterback to star status. All that good will, however, has quickly flown out the window following a dismal start to the 2013 campaign.
Beginning the year against the reigning NFC East cellar-dwellers, Washington suffered a 33-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia accumulated 443 yards (263 through the ground) in Chip Kelly's NFL coaching debut.
The club showed signs of life with a too-little-too-late rally, amending a 33-7 deficit into a 33-27 letdown. It quickly deteriorated, however, when Aaron Rodgers annihilated Washington's secondary to the tune of 480 passing yards and four touchdowns.
If you think that's bad, consider what opposing rushers have done to the front seven. James Starks gave Green Bay its first 100-yard rusher in nearly two years, confirming Washington's early positioning as the league's worst run defense.
Of course, short-sighted fans everywhere see 0-2 and immediately point to the quarterback. Griffin, despite completing 62.9 percent of his passes in two 300-plus-yard efforts, is getting brandished with most of the blame.
A post-game show on Comcast SportsNet orchestrated of slew of frenzy, as host Chick Hernandez suggested Washington turned to backup signal-caller Kirk Cousins.
I’m gonna put the question out there: Why not stick No. 12 out there, who is healthy? It’s apparent from listening to you guys and watching that game: Robert Griffin III is not the same guy, yet. He’s not that guy.
Although it's true Griffin has played a different style, it's his abysmal defense that has forced the alterations. The sophomore is two interceptions away from matching his 2012 total, but he only attempted 24 passes per game during his rookie run. Playing both games from behind, Griffin has already attempted 89 passes.
More pass attempts equal more turnovers, especially when he is forcing the issue to make up mountains of separation on the scorecard.
Months removed from tearing his ACL, Griffin has shied away from scrambling out of the pocket, but he's doing all he can in the pocket with a ho-hum cast of receivers and a defense that quickly eliminated the threat of a run game.
It won't be Griffin's fault, but the Redskins will not secure another division title. Another deadly offense in Detroit waits this weekend, and they have have the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons on tap.
Washington needs a quarterback of Rodgers' caliber to keep this flawed team afloat. A pocket-bound Robert Griffin III is still an above-average NFL quarterback, but he can't carry this team with a limp knee.