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Long Term Consequences - Protecting RGIII for his & the 'Skins Long Term

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Pravda

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After reading a number of articles recently (not go mention John Gruden's essentially continuous line of discussion during last nights game about the impact to RGIII of all the hits), it's hard not to think about the long term implications of all of the hits on RGIII.

As the NYT stated a day or two ago in an article entitled "Study Bolsters Link Between Routine Hits and Brain Disease", the case in becoming increasing strong that head injuries to football (and in certain cases, hockey) players are almost certainly likely to create severe, debilitating implications in affected players.

If you look at the brain scans in the NYT article, I would be surprised if you weren't convinced (and perhaps, a little horrified) at the implications to running backs like Alfred Morris (or Clinton Portis, Stephen Davis, Reggie Brooks, etc. before him) on their long term health.

The correlation between head hits and brain injuries notwithstanding, I do feel increasingly concerned about NFL players, not least the Redskins and our two outstanding rookies who have been hit hard and often this season. (Also, one wonders what degree of culpability we all have in perpetuating this kind of damage -- though obviously, one can argue that all participants are fully informed about the costs/implications.)

Ignoring the long term implications for a moment, I am increasingly concerned about RGIII and his short and medium term health given how many (massive) hits he has taken this season. Granted he's a rookie and the offensive line hasn't been great in protecting him (not to mention RGIII's competitiveness resulting in some extra yards at a painful, painful cost), but one wonders how long this can keep up. I'd say not long.

I wonder what conversations are happening behind the scene among the coaches and the players.

There was a pretty candid quote recently by the Chief's Eric Winston where in relevant part he said "I’ve already kinda come to the understanding that I won’t live as long because I play this game and that’s OK, that’s a choice I’ve made and a choice all of us have made."

One wonders what RGIII is hearing from the coaches and from his own family. Certainly everyone has to be encouraging him to find ways to get rid of the ball so can avoid the hits, right?

Whatever is being discussed, I think we can all agree that the hits on him cannot continue without there being short and long term health and performance issues.
 

McD5

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I feel exactly the same way. In my opinion, the biggest achilles heel of this team is the health and safety of RG3. It's the reason why so many were shocked at the Kirk Cousins pick. As we have seen with the success of the great ones like Brady and Manning, protecting your star QB is the number one priority. If you instead use that Cousins pick on another lineman, then you may never have to see Cousins on the field.

It was a crucial gamble that could potentially destroy the best QB we've had here in twenty years. And for what? Kirk Cousins? That was an awful lapse in judgement. McNabb, Grossman and John Beck? One has to wonder if the guy calling the shots is intelligent enough to keep RG3 safe.

I also believe that it's fair to say that his career has already been shortened by some of these vicious hits. 6 months? 9 months? It's hard to know for sure. But it's been shortened.

O-line had better be our main focus in the upcoming draft.
 

Elephant

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Well, if they kept him in the pocket, he would be getting crushed. This is actually the lesser evil because he can adjust for the hits he takes.
 

Miles Monroe

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I feel exactly the same way. In my opinion, the biggest achilles heel of this team is the health and safety of RG3. It's the reason why so many were shocked at the Kirk Cousins pick. As we have seen with the success of the great ones like Brady and Manning, protecting your star QB is the number one priority. If you instead use that Cousins pick on another lineman, then you may never have to see Cousins on the field.

It was a crucial gamble that could potentially destroy the best QB we've had here in twenty years. And for what? Kirk Cousins? That was an awful lapse in judgement. McNabb, Grossman and John Beck? One has to wonder if the guy calling the shots is intelligent enough to keep RG3 safe.

I also believe that it's fair to say that his career has already been shortened by some of these vicious hits. 6 months? 9 months? It's hard to know for sure. But it's been shortened.

O-line had better be our main focus in the upcoming draft.
While we can protect Robert better, and surely will in time with the draft and free agents, you use Manning and Brady as examples, QB's known to be pocket passers. It's an entirely different situation. One rookie linemen could make a difference, if he was a very high pick. To get one where we took Cousins would be a crap shoot at best.

How do you know his career has been shortened ? For real, how do you know ? You're stating opinion, not fact... Unless you sat in with a team of neurologists comparing brain scans of Robert from high school and the past week or so, you're just like the rest of us, up tight that our shiny new toy will be broken long before we're done playing with it.

I know one thing for sure.... you don't train a thoroughbred to trot around the paddock. I don't want to see Robert get hurt as much as anybody, but changing his game too much makes him just another QB. A stout line will help, but Robert has to be who he is, and play the way he always has.
 

McD5

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How do you know his career has been shortened ? For real, how do you know ? You're stating opinion, not fact... Unless you sat in with a team of neurologists comparing brain scans of Robert from high school and the past week or so, you're just like the rest of us, up tight that our shiny new toy will be broken long before we're done playing with it.
I believe it's pretty apparent how serious concussions are these days. Many doctors now believe that the brain is permanently altered after only two of them in a person's life. If you agree, then Robert's already halfway there.

Maybe you disagree, and believe that number is four concussions. That would put him a quarter of the way to potential serious harm.

Examples are all over the place, from Vick and Shady, to Jahvid Best who is a very young player that may never see a field again. Best has had two or three in his life--only two in the NFL-- and he is apparently so damaged that the league won't even let him play.

We simply cannot allow RG3 to average one concussion per season. One per year, after three years could finish him.

Doctors also believe that those who have suffered from a concussion are more prone to suffer another. It's not pretty.

In addition to concussions, I also don't want to see him take another shot on that shoulder like in last night's game. That could have been an immediate dislocation. That was on him, not the line, but it was brutal.

I too, want to see him utilize his athletic ability. I also want to see him leading us five years from now.
 

Pravda

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Hey Pete -- unfortunately the correlation is becoming frighteningly clear between head injuries -- such as concussions and milder, repeated injuries such as those suffered by hard running RBs or enforcers in the NHL -- and shorter playing careers and lifespans.

And that's what makes this whole thing kind of unnerving: when you're watching RGIII (or really, any other player) get hit as hard as he is, particularly where there is any impact to his head, you know that it's going to have long-term implications not just to his playing ability and career but also to how long he's going to live and the quality of his life in his later years.
 

burgold

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But it's also a reality of the sport we love. Even Mark Rypien behind the 91 Hogs got hit. The number of times a qb gets hit whether they're drop back or mobile is high. We focus often on sacks or big hits, but look at drop back guys like Ramsey who was hit on almost every throw and that was behind a better line than the one we currently have.

Unless you want to ban football, there's no way to prevent hard hits or hits to the head. Qbs will always get hit and hit hard, especially if they need to set to hit a receiver while some 300 lb monster is running full bore at them trying to crush him.
 

Miles Monroe

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Guys, I know all about the correlation of the head trauma and early onset disorders. I've been following the subject for about 13 or 14 years now. Watching my dad develop dementia and other complications at an early age due to a head injury got me watching. I've also had 3 serious head injuries, so trust me, I understand what could be down the road.

Way back when, the medical field were split on this, but with all the proof being found, the gap has gotten tighter.

That being said, we all make choices in our life. Some make choices of doing things detrimental to our long term health, like playing some contact sports, racing cars and bikes, having head butting contests while drunk and silly.

If your smart, you take every precaution to protect yourself without adversely effecting the activity. You can't live with fear, well, at least I cant, and Robert has the same attitude. He knows he could have permanent side effects and life threatening conditions from his career. You do the best you can, and then go out and live...

I want him to have a very long and prosperous career with the Skins as the player he is. He's special, and changing that would be a waste
 

Goaldeje

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James Madison

Pravda, I agree with your post. I think maybe it was Neo a while back who said that he enjoys the big hits less and less because now he realizes what those big hits cost down the road. While there is certainly a great deal of accountability that lies with the players (for making this their livlihood), the permanent damage that only becomes apparent years or decades later sullies the joy I once had.

As an organization, we need to actively work at protecting Griff better. Our OLine is coming together and is servicable, but we need to protect him with better than servicable.

The good news is that the league has noticed that people EVERYWHERE are interested in Griff, and will afford him the same star protection that Brady, Manning, etc enjoy.

I know this will be controversial, but I would not be opposed to drafting pretty much exclusively OLinemen in April, while hoping that Tanard and Merriweather can both come back, and perhaps signing some depth with our limited resources (**** you, Mara). Protecting Griff should be of paramount import this offseason, I really can't think of anything moreso.
 

Pravda

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I hear you Burgold-- I don't think anyone's advocating getting rid of the NFL (or hard hitting sports in general).

I think what it comes down to is basically what Goaldeje mentions about it changing your appreciation and enjoyment of the game. Don't get me wrong: I still really enjoy (or that's probably not the right word given the massive amount of anxiety that watching the Redskins produces in me -- but stick with me here) watching the game.

It just hard to watch a vibrant, extraordinary young QB subject himself to unrelenting and extreme hits that you can't help but thinking are going to impair his ability to keep it up in 3-5 years but also could create long term implications in his quality of life after his playing days are done.

Just kind of changes the vibe and the dynamic of watching the game, I think.

And Pete, I'm very sorry to hear about your dad. I misunderstood your post on rereading -- I just thought you were saying that there wasn't necessarily a correlation between the hits and damage when I think you were saying that RGIII is a adult who made the decision to play the (extraordinary) way he plays.
 

riggins44

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I don't think anyone wants to see Griffin get hurt. Hits are a part of football. RG3 needs (and think he has) to learn the guys in NFL are bigger, faster, and stronger.

After the game RG3 said the last hit was one he had to take for the team. He wanted to stay inbounds to keep clock moving. He called this his "Gumby" hit.

The NFL is a violent sport. The players know the risks. Just like racing. Racers know the risks and danger. Those involved in both sports realize they are doing what they love and put dangers aside. If they start thinking about the risks, then they are done.

I don't know the answer, but NFL can't water down the product. Hopefully someone will come up with a solution. We need RG3 for a long time.
 

Lanky Livingston

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Its hard to watch Griffin's interviews and see how likeable and congenial he is, and think that maybe 25 years down the road, he'll be completely different due to head injury. Its quite sad, actually.

As others have mentioned though, its a consequence of the game we love. Its sad, but its a fact of life, unfortunately. Maybe as fans we can demand more research & money be put into head injuries by the NFL? I'm not sure.

Its also fascinating to me how differently it can effect guys. Earl Campbell can barely walk or talk these days; but Jim Brown is the picture of health (or at least I think he is). Jim had a much shorter career (by choice), but he still took and gave hits harder than most.
 

tshile

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Am I the only one who thinks he is taking far less big hits than from the beginning of the season?
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No, I agree with you.

What sucks is it isn't just the number of hits, one hit can do the trick. And it's not just his brain we need to worry about. That hit against the giants looked like a very good opportunity to blow out a knee...
 

SirClintonPortis

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The most we can do for Robert is get him to avoid contact when he reasonably can and to give him a better offensive line. Hits like the one he took on his first(?) pass this week are the sorts of hits ANY QB has to suck up and take.
 

Miles Monroe

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And Pete, I'm very sorry to hear about your dad. I misunderstood your post on rereading -- I just thought you were saying that there wasn't necessarily a correlation between the hits and damage when I think you were saying that RGIII is a adult who made the decision to play the (extraordinary) way he plays.
No worries Sol, and yes, that's what I was gettin at.
 

Rymanofthenorth

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UTEP

we dont have to wrap him in bubble wrap, we just gotta minimise the hits he takes. that second pass he threw he got leveled and it wasnt even a deep ball. that has gotta get taken care of. other than that Mike is right he has taken less shots than he did at the start of the season, although some of the shotgun snaps have been a little high and that isnt a good thing
 

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