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The Real Redskins Problem

Redskins, RGIII

Make no mistake about it, Robert Griffin III is a superstar.  A player does not have a rookie season like he had and then simply disappear into obscurity, or at least, it is rare.

Griffin is coming off a major ACL injury, an injury that, at the very least, ends seasons and sometimes ends career and definitely shortens them. When Griffin got hurt, he choose to follow in the foot step of Adrian Peterson and rush his recovery in hopes to get back in the limelight and helm his team.  He cannot be blamed for that. Competitors want to compete.  However, the question becomes would things be different if RGIII would have took his time coming back, perhaps came back midseason or even sat the majority of this season out and then help his team make a playoff run next year.

Regardless, there is only one man that could have made RGIII sit on the bench, even if Griffin did not want to.  It is the same man that allowed a clearly injured RGIII play that resulted in his debilitating injury, Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan.

Redskins, Shanahan

Do not get me wrong, RGIII has to own his mistakes, but he is just one piece of a giant puzzle that is Shanahan’s job to put together.  What we see this season is the result of Shanahan’s handy work.  He could try to place the blame on RGIII all he wants, which is what he is effectively doing by benching him, but this whole situation is by his design. The truth his RGIII is the reason why he got to keep his job an extra season.

First of all, the Redskins whole offensive strategy is a mess, relying completely on zone-exploiting plays.  Shanhan prefers to run zone blocking, as well as the zone-read option plays, which is great for running backs that can take hits. This worked really well in RGIII’s rookie season (until he got hurt), allowing him to hit the open field for some amazing run plays, which made way for his passing. However, defenses have since wised-up.

The likes of Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are college-style run and gun quarterbacks like Griffin.  The difference is they are making, for the most part, professional football plays, with the read option used rarely and QB rushing is utilized on the fly. The Redskins are still asking Griffin to do much on his feet, which is resulting in him getting hit way more than he needs to be. Something that is not good for a QB who already has a shaking confidence after major surgery.

The easy culprit to blame for Griffin getting hit is his pass protection but this would be a simple scapegoat, a way to place the blame on the shoulders of a seemingly faceless group as opposed to an individual. Trent Williams is one of the best pass-blocking left tackles in the league. In fact, the PFF has the whole Redskins O-Line listed as the eighth best pass defense in the NFL.

The Real Redskins Problem

Griffin is taking a long time to throw the ball this season. He also has not been as elusive under pressure, often seemingly cracking as the pocket collapses. He is not playing with the same swagger coming off his surgery, period.  Benching him is doing nothing for that confidence.  Especially considering it is the guy who is doing the benching’s fault that this whole situation exists. The O-line’s perceived lack of ability is the direct result of the shoddy play calling and RGIII’s lack of confidence, which all makes its way back around to being Shanahan’s fault.

Even if I concede every point that I have made in this article the same still rings true.  Even if I say that the Redskins O-line is garbage and RGIII simply is not an NFL-caliber quarterback, it is still Shanahan’s fault.  He made the decision to trade up for a the draft pick that brought in RGIII, and he built the Redskins O-line from scratch.

This 3-10 Redskins season was brought to you by Shanahan no matter how you want to paint the picture.

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