September 9, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) celebrates a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in the fourth quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Washington Redskins defeated the New Orleans Saints 40-32. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Griffin III set numerous records during his phenomenal rookie season in 2012, leading to not only his 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, but also the team’s second-only playoff home game in FedExField History.
That playoff game would turn out to be the worst, as he would go on to tear not only his LCL, but also partially tearing his ACL.
With the Redskins currently in Mini Camp and Griffin throwing the ball as well as starting to sprint, some have questioned whether or not the Redskins and Robert Griffin III himself are moving too fast.
Griffin made it quite clear he has no intentions on risking his career just to start Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles when he said, “That’s always been the goal, but once again I’m not gonna risk my career to play in one game. Yes, I’m all in for Week 1 but I’m all in for my career as well.”
The Redskins have already taken Griffin out of all of the team’s four preseason games to help ensure he is indeed ready for Week 1, and while it will take another two months to see if Griffin is indeed ready, how can the Redskins ensure he will last all 16 games in 2013?r94020
Some of the more in-depth analyst, such as Pro Football Focus have already predicted Griffin missing two games in 2013, even while rushing 23 fewer times than he did in 2012 (120).
Jun 12, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) throws a pass during mini camp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
While Griffin has been said to be a freak much like Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson with the way he has been recovering (he was walking three weeks after surgery), should the Redskins move away from the pistol and read option to a more traditional pocket passer offense to keep Griffin safe?
While it’s true that Griffin did not sustain his injury from a designed run during the Baltimore game, the abuse he took on designed runs certainly didn’t help him as he took numerous shots during his rookie season.
Some of that might be due to his ignorance as a rookie and trying to do much when he should have run out-of-bounds or slid, others are just pure factors of rushing in the game.
The NFL witnessed exactly that with Michael Vick. During the beginning of his career he was spectacular running the ball and leading the Atlanta Falcons to numerous playoffs, but those shots eventually caught up with him.
Dec 23, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) on the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field. Th Redskins defeated the Eagles, 27-20. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Vick has only played for a full season once during his 10-year career, that being in 2006 with Atlanta. After missing two seasons in the NFL, even while staying in shape and allowing his body to heal, Vick has been unable to play for more than 13 games.
Depending on how the Redskins protect Robert Griffin III in 2013, and for the rest of his career in Washington, this same thing could happen to him.
While fans believe Michael Vick is more of a rushing QB than a passer, the fact is Vick has only rushed for more than 120 times once in his career (123 times in 2006). In 2013 Vick rushed the ball only 62 times, yet missed six games.
There’s no denying Griffin has the skill and arm strength to be a better passer than Vick, along with the best of the best in the NFL as he showed in 2012, the question rather is should the Redskins stick with their offense they currently have in place (which is the plan), or should they go a different route?
The pistol formation proved to be deadly for the Washington Redskins, as well as other teams such as the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, proving the offense can work in the NFL (at least right now).
September 16, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) celebrates after throwing a 68 yard touchdown pass during the first half against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
While Griffin doesn’t have to run on each play, he’s going to need to run nearly the same amount of times in the offense as he did last year (not counting scrambles) to keep defenses honest, which all leads to more abuse (such as the concussions he sustained).
When a player is young, such as we saw with Vick, they can take the abuse and hits for the first couple of seasons, but after that you start to see the wear and tear. Concussions, broken bones and sprains are just a few of the many serious injuries that can come from such rushes.
Kirk Cousins has shown he can lead the team to victories as he did it twice and nearly three times last season had it not been for a defensive collapse against the Falcons. The Redskins however didn’t trade two first round picks and a second for him to be the future.
If the Washington Redskins want to keep Griffin healthy for years to come, it may be wise to limit not only his role in 2013, but ultimately change the style of offense they currently run in Washington. Otherwise the risk for injury with Griffin will always be there.