The magical campaign that was Robert Griffin III’s rookie season and the Washington Redskins’ last playoff appearance seem like ages ago. It was only 2012 when RGIII was a rookie, taking the world by storm. A few injuries and a couple of different coaches later and Griffin finds himself at a crossroads as a Redskin. He’s 0-3 as the starting quarterback this year and has been even worse in-game. He’s sailed passes and missed reads routinely; and the sprinter speed from his rookie year is all but evaporated. Washington first-year coach Jay Gruden’s comment to the media that the “clock’s ticking” on Griffin could easily be interpreted as the coach could be thinking about a replacement. Times have changed dramatically from Griffin’s first year and he might finally be on the hot seat in Washington. But can Griffin return to form before it’s too late? Stephen D. Riley and Perry Green of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the question.
Green: The time has come for Washington to cut the cord on RGIII. His rookie year is starting to look like a fluke and he’s on his way to flaming out the league much like Vince Young did after his Pro Bowl caliber rookie season. Even with his speed and agility fading, he should be able to successfully and consistently read coverages by now, and he just can’t. It’s painful to watch him play the quarterback position on Sundays, and his penchant for coming off as arrogant is the perfect combination to get him out the door early. Though Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy aren’t starting quarterbacks themselves, they both have come in and had more success this year than Griffin, who hasn’t even won a game as a starter. The writing is on the wall in Washington and it’s becoming obvious.
Riley: Griffin has played bad, no doubt, but he’s going to continue to have mulligans as long as he continues to get hurt. He missed six games this year, that’s a considerable amount of time for any NFL player to be out, let alone a quarterback. And even after missing a month-and-a-half, he’s still managed to throw for scores in each of his last two games. The game last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was as bad as it gets from a team perspective, but it was just another step in getting back to normal for RGIII. Washington could probably cut ties with Griffin and it wouldn’t come as a shock to people inside that locker room. But, the fact still remains that he’s the best option for them as a signal caller. Gruden has done well with young quarterbacks and we still haven’t seen anything close to a working relationship between the two yet because they simply haven’t had enough time together.
Green: We haven’t seen enough of Gruden and Griffin, but we’ve seen enough of RGIII as a solo act and heard enough of his prima donna postgame rants to know that he’s going to sink this team the longer he stays on it. Even his first year had murmurs of locker room dysfunction between him and the older players back in 2012. I think the brand, the commercials and the injuries have simply run its course in the capital. Even those around the team that continue to give him passes based upon his rookie season are beginning to open their eyes. Fans are beginning to voice their displeasure, and you can even hear boo birds at FedEx Field. They were definitely there last week when he played terribly against sorry Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Washington finally has its draft picks back after trading so many of them away for RGIII in the first place – the team is on the way to another bottom-five finish and could use that pick to draft his replacement. If it’s ever going to be a year to start all over again it’ll be this one coming up, especially if Griffin continues to play erratically and lose football games.
Riley: Whatever pick that Washington ends up with this year the team would certainly be wise to use it to add another piece up front to the offensive line. Every quarterback that’s played behind that unit has been put under fire this season, and the lack of a pass rush has definitely crippled the defense. There are many holes on this Redskin team that don’t even possess the potential that Griffin has at the quarterback position. Gruden has shown he can work with quarterbacks and turn them into above average players. Griffin’s unique skill set is a welcomed addition to the signal caller position that Gruden could definitely mold into his own image. But until we see a full healthy year from RGIII then he should be able to last at least one more year in Washington.