Two NFL Seasons, Does Not Make For A Crystal Ball

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What has Robert Griffin III done to deserve the kind of second guessing, and sometimes antagonistic disrespect by some elements of the Burgundy and Gold faithful?

Yeah, I know.

He put out a new personal logo after a 3-13 season when he was benched.
He spouts absurd hashtags about things only he (or his Adidas reps) understand. (#themovement??)
He seems to have a hair-trigger defensiveness on even periphery criticism.

But to channel my inner, tearful Terrell Owens… “that’s my quarterback man… my quarterback…”

What ever happened to a fan base putting just a bit of faith into a guy who has shown amazing flashes of brilliance in his first two years? What’s the worst thing Griffin has done as a Redskin? Had a pushy stage dad around? Not take ENOUGH blame for specific losses?

I mean, really.

The open hostility from some segments of supposed Redskins fans is astounding. Sickening, actually. It may only be 30% (my estimate) who are in the camp that wants a short leash on Griffin this season, with Kirk Cousins warming up in the bullpen at the first little wobble.

But that’s still way too many.

This guy worked fanatically to return to the field in the shortest time possible. Was it too short? Did his marketing campaign have anything to do with it? Yeah and yeah, but my god, the kid PUT IN THE WORK to be available. How many bums have we seen through the years in sports who treat major injuries like an extended vacation?

This guy handled Mike Shanahan’s dopey “shutdown” last year with total class, and supportive professionalism for his backup. Doesn’t he get any credit for that?

Hell, I’ve been plenty critical of RG3 in this blog over the last 12 months on a variety of things, but I’m not nearly at the point of “please hurry up and be a Hall of Famer” while I tap my watch.

 

Too many dopes who have zero attention span and even less ability to learn from the past. It would be one thing if Cousins had some freakish elements to his game. Perhaps a cannon arm, or Romo-like escapabilty in the pocket.

But he doesn’t have any of that. He’s just the embodiment of the “NEXT!” mentality of fans who are perpetually impatient.

You would think that a town that once saw Babe Laufenberg look like Johnny Unitas in August every summer, would be smart enough to know by now that anything you see before Labor Day is as counterfeit as Bitcoins made out of chocolate.

Yet there were these dummies – some in my own building, I am sad to say – parsing over pre-season stats by both Griffin and Cousins, applying a mythical “eye test” to how each guy looked.

Thank god I found out this week that I am not entirely alone in my astonishment at the Griffin hostility, doubters, and quietly passive-aggressive types who probably wouldn’t mind seeing him fail.

Washington Post columnist Tom Boswell – a guy who has seen these patterns of delusion the through the long lens of his gold-standard writing career here in town – had the following to say to the “Kirk Jerks”….

I just shake my head at this nonsense.

Twenty months ago, this guy was even money to be the greatest Skins player in 50 years. He really did have an historic season, as a recent Fancy Stats post of ours pointed out.

Just chill. (Yes, I know this is impossible for DC.) This year — the ENTIRE YEAR, all 16 games, no matter what — are about RGIII learning to play QB in the NFL with more emphasis (but not exclusive emphasis) on pocket-passing and defense reading.

Then all of NEXT YEAR will be about…The Same Thing.

Get over the hating, folks.

And Kirk Cousins isn’t close to being the answer. These men have actually played in the NFL. We aren’t projecting college players. Cousins has throw 203 passes. His career QB rating is 68.6 (bad). Last year it was 58.4. His AverageNetYards/Attempt — the “OPS of the NFL — is 4.60. (That includes the influence of sacks as well as all the other stuff.)

RGIII’s “awful” ’13 was better than Cousins career numbers: 60.1% completions, 16-12 TD-to-INT ratio (Cousins is 8-10 career), and a 82.2 QB rating with a (poor) 5.48 ANY/A.

Sorry to introduce facts into the discussion.

The Skins offense wasn’t the main reason they were 3-13 last year. It was the worst-in-50-years defense and the worst-in-the-history-of-mankind special teams. The offense was mediocre. Griffin, with a coach who hated him, was an average NFL QB.

When Cousins had good stats in the pre-season, the “Kirk Jerks” are the first to pull out the box score and wave it in your face. When you talk about how Griffin’s stats from 2013 were far from horrific, they’ll start saying “stats don’t tell the whole story.”

If nothing else, think about this: Robert Griffin III shredded his own knee for this team, this town, and this fan base. It may have been idiotic (it was), pointless (certainly) and counter-productive in the long run (I’ll buy that too) but my God, what more can you ask of a player?

Years from now, the Skins fans who are already reaching for the “NEXT!” button may be proven “right” in a sense. Griffin may not be the franchise QB we were all hoping for.

But they are dead wrong to even be thinking about that now, and borderline treasonous to boot. Time to line up behind our guy and stick with him for what very well might be another tough season.

We are in Year #3 of a MINIMUM four year effort to help make Griffin G-R-E-A-T. Sit down, shut up, get over his stilly hashtags, and let’s go have a season!

1 COMMENT

  1. As a guy who isn’t a Skins fan, but lived in the area for a long time, the fickleness of the DC market is amusing at times. But particularly in football, quarterbacks seemingly are dinged for endless “he’s not…”-isms. “RG3, you know, he’s not like the GREATS, doesn’t stand in like Brees, doesn’t evade like Vick, isn’t tough like Luck, doesn’t slide like Wilson, doesn’t have the pocket presence of Brady…”. Endless criticisms all based in comparisons. It’s true, he’s not those things, but he is still a very talented QB who needs a chance to show what he can do (or not) in a decent system for his talents (for comparison, see Baltimore, Flacco has surpassed talent-based expectations) with a decent offensive line (for comparison, see Atlanta where Ryan has struggled due to one of the worst O-lines in the league). Maybe RG3 is a top 10 qb. Not Brees, not WIlson, but his own brand of top 10 talent. Or not. But it’s going to take some time. I just hope DC has patience.

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