Last season everyone was praising Robert Griffin III and yet this season it seems some of the same people are criticizing him. Is some of the criticism justified? Maybe. But I don’t think people are taking into account just how much missing an entire offseason of reps and practice can cause a quarterback to regress.
So why is it such a surprise that RGIII has struggled some this season? It seems that some people expected the man to just roll out of bed and be an elite QB. But if you take a look at the elite QB’s in the NFL then you’ll see that a lot hard work and repetition goes into being that good. The top QB’s can’t just snap their fingers and be great.
And I have stated before that this season for the Redskins may end up a lost cause, because of how poorly RGIII’s knee injury was handled last season by Mike Shanahan. It’s like Shanahan knew one of his tires could blow at any second, but he kept driving on it any way. Gambling that he could get to his destination before the tire blew.
But that gamble is coming back to haunt Shanahan now, because unlike a tire, you can’t simply replace a franchise QB. You’re stuck on the side of the road until he heals. A torn ACL is hard enough to overcome for any player, but when that player is a quarterback, then it becomes that much harder.
As a QB, Griffin can’t just sequester himself from the responsibilities of being a team leader in order to rehab. For RGIII the train didn’t stop, it simply picked up steam. But even with the physical, emotional, and mental demands of rehabbing a torn ACL, it seems the expectation from many is that he should still have progressed to an elite level, torn ACL or not, missed practice time or not.
It’s a monumental achievement that RGIII is even on the field, but he’s supposed be playing at an elite level too? I think Griffin would be much further along in his development if the injury hadn’t been mishandled. But his critics won’t acknowledge the impact of the injury on his play, simply because they’ve formulated a negative opinion against him for other reasons.
And this season isn’t half-way over yet. But even if RGIII doesn’t get things turned around, I’ve seen enough to conclude that it’s remarkable that he’s playing as well as he has considering the circumstances. NBA star Derrick Rose took an entire season off to recover from a torn ACL, and RGIII came back in 8 months. Yet for his critics, that fact doesn’t seem relevant.
RGIII’s performance last season was near super-human, and maybe it raised expectations too high. He had a rookie season at QB like no one had ever had before. But the fact is RGIII is not super-human, he’s just a human. And due to the bungling of his injury, it may take an entire season for the Redskins to gain back the momentum that was lost because of it.