Robert Griffin III burst into the NFL with an impressive rookie season that ended with Rookie of the Year honors and a reputation for being a dangerous dual-threat passer. Unfortunately for Griffin III, his rookie season also concluded with a torn ACL, his second knee injury in the past two-and-a-half years.
RG3 and his coaches took an extremely cautious approach to his recovery and return plan, which seemed to have a negative effect on him during the Redskins’ 0-3 start. Being expected to perform at a high level following eight months of rest is erroneous; rust should be expected, even with the greatest of athletes.
When you look at the type of year Washington is having, it’s easy to blame the quarterback. RG3 has been a borderline incompetent player these past few games, causing doubt to surround his quality as a starter at this point in time.
With that said, let’s not forget how well his backup, Kirk Cousins, performed when called upon last year. Now that this season is virtually over, is it time to put Cousins in? We shall see, but at this point the Redskins absolutely must hold onto him.
|RG3's first three games vs. last three games|
|Category||First three games||Last three games|
Many, including myself, considered Cousins trade bait after the 2013 season, but now there is no way that he should go anywhere.
While I don’t believe it is time to lose hope in RG3 as the future of the Redskins franchise, his recent play definitely makes Cousins more valuable to the team now, and potentially long-term. While we don’t know what he is capable of as a full-time starter, he’s shown flashes of being a good quarterback in the NFL.
RG3’s current troubles primarily lie within his mechanics and decision-making as a pocket passer.
Too often does he choose to run instead of keeping his eyes downfield and going through his progressions. There were many times in the past few games when he ran out of the pocket and, though he still gained yards, he could’ve picked up more yards (and potentially touchdowns) by throwing the ball to one of his receivers.
When it comes to his mechanics, RG3 has had trouble with planting his foot and stepping into his throw. Considering it involves shifting weight from one leg to the other, it’s understandable that he would be cautious of this given his injury, but we’re three months into the season—it’s about time problems like this were resolved.
Even NFL legend Ron Jaworski chimed in on RG3’s mechanics in relation to his injury (per ProFootballTalk):
He is protecting that right leg. I get it, I understand it. But you’ve got to be able to make these throws. And I’m sure in three or four weeks, he will be making these throws. But right now, his mechanics, in throwing the football, those deep throws down the field where mechanics are critical, he is struggling.
The concerns with Griffin III aren’t plentiful, but they are important. Don’t get me wrong, he is definitely a better, more talented player than Cousins, but if he doesn’t work on these things then his progression as an NFL player will surely be stunted and could ruin his bright future.
It's clear Griffin III has some big things to work on. "There's the rehab, then the natural growth he needs as a quarterback with the NFL having a year of film on him," said Bucky Brooks of NFL.com. Growth, along with an attention to detail, is what's needed from RG3 at this point.