When Redskins QB Robert Griffin III suffered a torn ACL in the wildcard playoff against the Seattle Seahawks, I had a foreboding sense that the injury would hurt the team much more in the future than in the present. Head coach Mike Shanahan’s decision not to take RGIII out of the game, was controversial then, and the repercussions are still affecting the team now.
By having to devote the majority of his time to rehabbing the injury, RGIII missed out on the reps he needed to not only sustain the level of play he achieved last season, but to possibly exceed it. By not fully participating in the Redskin’s mini-camps and conditioning programs, I think it’s safe to say that Griffin has somewhat regressed in his development from last season.
And this is not a slight to Robert Griffin III, because rehabbing the knee must have been an extremely trying experience both physically and mentally. And the fact that he returned to the starting lineup as soon as he did, playing at the level he is, is a testament to his determination and natural skill as a quarterback. But the fact is, none of it ever had to happen.
The Redskins have tried to move on beyond the debate of who was more responsible. But as the Redskins offense continues to try to regain the form from last season, I can only surmise that part of the struggles are due to RGIII still shaking off the rust of not being able to prepare properly during the off-season.
I concluded that Mike Shanahan bore the brunt of the blame for keeping RGIII in the game against the Seahawks. But all parties are putting a good face and a positive spin on the situation now, because what else can they do in the middle of the season but make the best of things?
And as we saw last year when the Redskins ended the season on a seven game winning streak to win the NFC East, that Mike Shanahan is right when the says the NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint. So it’s conceivable that the Redskins could get things back on track, put a string of wins together and get themselves back into the division race.
However, that’s a steep uphill climb that could have been avoided if Shanahan would have used better judgment when he had the chance, and taken RGIII from that game before he tore his ACL. The ramifications of that decision then, seem to be negatively affecting all aspects of the team now. And if handled correctly, maybe the Redskins would be in a position of the front-runner this season, instead of having to come from behind like the last.
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