COMMENTARY | After the way the Washington Redskins, more so quarterback Robert Griffin III, have started their 2013 campaign, many are beginning to question whether the Redskins have the right quarterback on the field.
While RG3 is struggling, there is no doubt that the right guy is under center.
So far this season, Washington has fallen well short of expectations. The Redskins are 0-2 with two very ugly losses to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1 and the Green Bay Packers in Week 2. In both outings, Robert Griffin III played an ugly first half followed by a strong second half. In both games combined, he's thrown for 160 yards, two interceptions and zero touchdowns in the first half and for 489 yards and five touchdowns in the second half.
As you can clearly see, the same Robert Griffin III is still there, he just comes out in the second half. Much like Griffin, the entire team seems to improve after halftime. While they've been outscored 54-7 in the first half, the Redskins have outscored their opponents 40-21 in the second half. They've come out flat to start the game, and that has gotten them into the most trouble. While Griffin has seemed out of sorts at times, it's a team effort that is letting them down.
You can say all you want about the Redskins not playing Griffin in the preseason and how that's hurt his play, but that argument will only take you in circles. What if head coach Mike Shanahan had let him play in preseason, and he get's hurt and is forced to sit out the season? Then we're discussing how the Redskins playing RG3 in the preseason has come back to haunt them.
It also doesn't matter who's playing quarterback when this defense has struggled as mightily as it has. On average, the Redskins give up 201 yards rushing and over 300 yards passing per game. It doesn't matter who's playing quarterback, if the defense can't stop the opponent, you're going to have a hard time winning football games.
Swapping Griffin for Kirk Cousins might actually hinder the offense. While Cousins is a better passing threat, his mobility is nowhere near that of Griffin's and that hinders the ability of the offense. The read-option will become less effective since teams won't respect Cousins' ability to run as much as they would Griffin's. In a sense, you're losing a whole section of your playbook by switching out quarterbacks.
You also can't give up on a quarterback after just two games. Last year, Griffin was displayed as the savior of the city, not just the franchise, thanks to his on-field heroics. When he went down in the playoffs with his knee injury, the world seemed to stop turning in D.C. Now, six months later, he's had two bad halves, not even full games, and everyone is ready to jump ship and throw Cousins onto the field. What if the Colts had given up on Peyton Manning after his 3-16 rookie year in 1998?
It won't do the Redskins any good to let Griffin rest his knee, either. It's quite obvious that he's done doing that, and he's more than ready to take the field. The whole point in him playing is to shake the rust off. Sure, he could do that in practice. However, there's a big difference between practice 11-on-11 and real, in-game football where there are four linemen and a few linebackers that are looking to put you out of the game with one big hit. You can't prepare for that. The only way that Griffin's performances will improve is with in-game reps, not sitting on the sideline watching.
The best way to handle this situation is with patience. Griffin didn't see real football action for 256 days prior to the Redskins' Monday night opener against the Eagles. So he's played two bad halves, big deal. It's still the same RG3 that captivated us all last season and provided highlight after highlight on all the local and national sports shows.
Remember, last season the Redskins started off 3-6 before winning their final seven games to make the playoffs. I don't recall anyone calling for the benching of RG3 when they were 3-6 last season, so why should we do it now? We're only two games into a 16-game season. Give them a chance to right the ship before trying to overthrow the captain.
Brian Skinnell lives in the Washington D.C., metro-area and began covering the Redskins on his own blog titled "The Skinny On Sports". You can also check him out on RantSports.com and on a weekly NFL segment on Yahoo AM 730 Sports in Memphis, Tennessee.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Robert Griffin III