Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen recently stated in an interview on ESPN950 that the Redskins shouldn’t have expected quarterback Robert Griffin III to perform at a high level last season, as he was still recovering from a disastrous knee injury from 2012 and hadn’t practiced. It’s obvious now that RGIII was not ready to start the 2013 season, but was the answer to the question as obvious then?
“What you saw last year was almost a little disrespectful to the game of football. It’s impossible to ask a player to perform well in the regular season if you haven’t practiced. You know last year at this time he’s still rehabbing his knee. He’s not allowed to practice, not allowed to work in team drills at all because he’s still rehabilitating himself. And we put him really on the spot by trying to do that.”
RGIII had not practiced much during the offseason last year as much of his time was taken up rehabbing the knee injury. Backup Kirk Cousins spent most of the time practicing with the first unit in the mini camps and also started at quarterback initially in the preseason. However, there was a push by Griffin himself that he was “all in” to start the first game at quarterback against the Eagles.
And Griffin clearly struggled in that game, and was very rusty from not being able to practice as much as he needed to. But Mike Shanahan decided that Griffin was his best option at the time, even though he had not had the time necessary to prepare. Did Griffin add pressure to Shanahan’s decision to start him with his “all in” campaign?
Probably, but you would expect a competitor to want be out on the field even if they’re not 100%. However, ultimately it’s still the coach’s decision, regardless of what the player wants. But looking back on things a year later is a lot easier than it was then. And Allen stated “we” put him on the spot. So he didn’t say that Mike Shanahan alone did, but maybe that’s what he was inferring.
So maybe Griffin shouldn’t have played last season, but he did play. But what’s done is done. I know most fans wanted RGIII to play, and there was pressure from that aspect as well. And maybe Shanahan thought Griffin really was his best option at the time. But all the Redskins can do is just learn from the mistakes of the past and move forward. There’s nothing that can be done to change any of it now.