What Really Went Wrong With Robert Griffin III? - The Triangle Blog - GrantlandLast week, the Washington Redskins benched quarterback Robert Griffin III. We've heard all sorts of explanations: that Griffin had taken too many hits; that the franchise needed to see what it had in backup Kirk Cousins; that head coach Mike Shanahan was trying to send the message that he's the coach and Griffin merely the player; even that Shanahan was pulling a George Costanza and trying to get fired. There's a kernel of truth in all of those explanations — well, probably not the Constanza theory — but after going back and studying the film from every game of Griffin's last three seasons, I'm certain that Griffin's play was the main reason he didn't suit up Sunday and won't play Washington's final two games.
Despite the torrent of leaks, media reports, and bizarre press conferences, we know very little about how Washington actually came to this decision or about the team's overall future direction. But we know one thing: Griffin will still be Washington's starting quarterback in Week 1 next season. Despite the fact that Griffin hasn't played well, despite the injuries, and despite the dalliance with Cousins, Washington simply has too much invested in Griffin to move on just yet. For now, Griffin's future is still the Redskins' future. But if the quarterback wants to keep his job long term, he must play better. And I think he will.
The offseason was filled with promises of Griffin's triumphant return, and while he managed to start the season opener, he was a shade of his former self. It wasn't just his running ability. Everything was off.
It's not a question of whether Griffin can do it. It's about consistency. Griffin's inconsistent footwork can't be dismissed, but it is fixable. As LaFleur observed to Keim, it's hard to focus on the fundamentals "when you have so much going on and [are] so focused on the game plan."
Despite all that, I'm still optimistic about Griffin's future. He was one of my favorite all-time pro prospects when he came out of Baylor, and, unless injuries ultimately shorten his career, I still believe he'll be a fantastic NFL quarterback. Inconsistent play is the norm for young quarterbacks, not the exception. It's hard to find a person who doesn't think Andrew Luck will be a star (and I agree), but Luck still had a four-game stretch this season in which he threw two touchdowns compared with five interceptions; Colin Kaepernick appears to be playing better now that he has a more complete set of healthy receivers, but he has delivered some clunkers this year, including a game against the Seahawks in which he averaged negative yards per passing attempt after factoring in sacks and interceptions. And it's only rubbing salt in the wound for Ravens and Giants fans to note that, at least statistically, Griffin's 2013 season rates out better than all but two of Joe Flacco's six seasons, and that it took Eli Manning until his fifth season to have a better passer rating than the one Griffin managed this year — a year pretty much everyone declared "awful."
There's a lot more there worth reading, both good and bad. It goes into his footwork and mechanics.
That gif of the KC game... the whole defense is just watching Griffin's eyes and reacting to them :\
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