An Inconvenient Truth: On Robert Griffin III, The Shanahans And Being All In … For 2014

Football, The Fam — By on November 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm

San-Francisco-49ers-at-Washington-Redskins

By Jamar Hudson / @jamarhudson

I read, listened to and watched people talk about it last year, but I didn’t believe it.

Or perhaps I didn’t want to believe it.

Perhaps I got so jaded in the fact that, for the first time in years, we Washington fans had a player who generated excitement week in and week out. Perhaps I, like many other fans, got spoiled in the fact that “we” ran the table to the NFC East division title and hosted a home playoff game, setting the foundation for 10-plus years of contention.

I ignored the signs.

I refused to listen when people said the Shanahans were going to ruin Robert Griffin III’s career before it even got started. I quickly fired back the stats to folks who said that, although RG3′s talents were something we’d rarely seen before in the NFL, there were still some mechanical issues that he needed to work on before we even put him in the “elite” category. I applauded RG3’s “swag,” foolishly ignoring the fact that the overconfidence and ego may come back to bite him. And, although last season ended on a sour note, I proudly boasted to friends and the like that a 12-4, 11-5 record was attainable.

All in for Week 1” seems so long ago, doesn’t it?

I’ve waited for about three weeks to finish this piece — in part because I still believed. Silly me. I waited and put off on completing paragraphs because I saw flashes. A play here and a play there would give me hope that maybe, just maybe, that magical run of last season could be duplicated and the Redskins could make an improbable run and compete in the weak NFC East.

It seemed at times possible — until I would inexplicably see Alfred Morris on the sidelines in short-yardage situations. And last night, in a nonchalant, effortless loss at home to the 49ers on Monday Night Football, I accepted the fact that this season is over. Done.

Now, before you scroll up to X out of this window, let’s be clear: There are plenty of directions in which you could point the finger. RG3 has not been himself, or at least not what we saw last year. The defense is atrocious, the play-calling is at best baffling and the special teams is God-awful.

The great Bill Parcells once said, “You are what your record says you are,” and for the Redskins, they are 3-8. A very bad 3-8.  And it’s OK to point that out. It seems that some of my fellow fans of the burgundy and gold refuse to accept the reality of the situation. It doesn’t make me, or anyone else, less of a fan because we want more of our team and those in leadership positions. It’s hypocritical to think that you can celebrate the good, yet put blinders on when the bad happens. Criticism and honest critique don’t mean you want the backup in the game or are giving up on the franchise you’ve rooted for your entire life.

So the question now is, what’s next? Are RG3’s struggles a result of a lingering knee issues, or is he really regressing as a quarterback? Is Mike Shanahan still a two-time Super Bowl-winning coach, or is he Jim Zorn 2.0 who is putting his young QB at risk with every call his son Kyle makes? With no first-round draft pick in 2014, does Dan Snyder have any patience left? Can the front office make the necessary changes, ones that everyone can visibly see need to be made, this offseason?

What once were questions I refused to address can’t be avoided now. If nothing else, this season has been a lesson in humility. Our friend Bomani Jones wrote months ago that “Griffin has been treated like an indestructible superhero, and he’s expected to behave like one, even though we’ve been made perfectly aware that he’s no such thing.” Griffin has experienced a humbling. Redskins fans have been let down. The team as a whole has underachieved to this point.

So we’ve come to a point that has seemed all so familiar for the past 20-plus years — we’ll get ‘em next year. Only this time, it hurts a little more because the experience of last year made us believe this time would be different.

And for the record, I’m still all in — just for next season.

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    5 Comments

  • It’s so crazy. As an Eagles fan, I’ve experienced the opposite scenario. Last year left us tired and beaten and ready to rebuild. There was no hope other than hoping for a new regime. And 2013 was supposed to be about change and building toward 2014 and beyond. Yet here the Eagles are, tied for first place and in control of their own destiny. Craziness.

    As for the Skins, man, I can’t even picture where they go. I still think RGIII will be fine, but boy there are concerns beyond his health for sure. And Shanahan? Who knows? The guy has always been a very good coach … but he was only truly a great coach when he had John Elway at his side. Not that that is unique for the best coaches — QB play is vital in sustained success — but you do gotta wonder if he’s still that coach.

    It’s wild how different just one year makes in sports, especially the NFL.

  • Pete D says:

    Would you sit him for the rest of the year? In my mind, once they are officially eliminated from the playoffs, I put him on the bench. Heal up, don’t risk further aggrivation of the knee or any other malady.

  • U MAN says:

    If Shanahan is a good coach he sits RGIII for the rest of the season..or at least limits his play to first half. He should do this for two reasons. 1: Your star needs time to heal and you don’t want him to risk any further or new injuries. 2: You have two other “Professional” QB’s who need to earn their paychecks and develop/ prove themselves at QB. You let RGIII rest a bit a let him learn the game by watching. You develop his mental and strategic ability as a QB. You give him just enough playing time to keep him fit but you take away the “pressure” of carrying the team.

    Look at the great QB’s who are out there now. Most of them spent a couple of years as a backup or had to suffer losing seasons. This is the learning curve. RGIII and Capernick are in their sophomore slumps. Only Russell Wilson looks good as a second year QB, but he is also on a team that hasn’t expected anything out of him and has worked with him. That is what RGIII needs. People to stop expecting him to save a team full of professional athletes who all need to work harder, and rather, people who will support and develop him. I love the Redskins and if Shanahan wants to be my coach next year he needs to start developing the whole team and not riding his main thoroughbred into the ground.

    Truly I feel for RGIII, Garcon, Morris, and Reed. They are clearly the stars of the team. All of them are pushed too hard while other good players (Helu, Royster, Young, Paulsen, Hankerson) are under utilized and not developed for consistency. Shanahan you are coaching a team, not one player.

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