The Washington Times-Herald

January 10, 2013

Decision to remove RG3 a no-brainer

Glade's Games

By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — Robert Griffin III scrambled toward the sideline and flung a pass to wide receiver Pierre Garcon for a simple incomplete pass. No big deal, right?

Wrong. The damage was done, the extent may not be known for at least a year, if not longer.

After Griffin fell to the ground with his knee buckled, he removed his helmet. It was obvious he was in pain. Griffin got to his feet, and limped back to the huddle.

At this time my iPhone vibrated. It was a phone call from my dad. He was watching the same game from his basement in Valparaiso. He had a prediction that seems so logical now.

"He (Griffin) won't finish this game," he said.

The next play, Griffin threw his second touchdown of the first quarter, and Washington was close to running the Seahawks out of Fedex Field.

We all know what happened next. Griffin struggled mightily to get any offensive rhythm going, as he and the Washington offense totaled 41 total yards in the next two and a half quarters.

Griffin would tear his ACL and LCL while getting sacked by Seattle rookie linebacker Bruce Irvin, and left the game after the next play when his right knee bent the wrong way in gruesome fashion.

Following the game, analysts from ESPN and NFL Network said it was dumb to second guess Washington coach Mike Shanahan's decision to leave Griffin in, except it's not second guessing.

If you were on Twitter during the game, you could see countless media members, and non-members wondering why RG3 was still out there risking serious injury.  I¹m not naive enough to not realize that a torn ACL is 100 percent avoidable, but in this instance, it seemed inevitable. Shanahan is not alone in blame for the Griffin injury.

RG3 knows his own body better than anyone, he knew he wasn't even close to being healthy, and he clearly bought into all the hype.

He thought he was invincible. This was clear as day, when postgame he said he gave the team the best chance to win while he was hobbled. No, Robert you didn't.

Shanahan is a two-time Super Bowl champion, and he should know better. What was the cost of going to back up Kirk Cousins? Shanahan was afraid of the wrath of his rookie quarterback, who said he would have been very upset if his coach would have pulled him from the first playoff game of his career.

Shanahan must be in control, or this won't work.

In the days leading up to last April¹s NFL Draft, the debate was who was better long term, Andrew Luck or Griffin.

The consensus was that a running quarterback like Griffin with a small body size would get hurt if he ran consistently in the NFL.

Nine months later that has been proven correct.

Griffin ran 120 times this season, and suffered a concussion, the second in as many years, and a sustained a torn ACL, his second in four years.

There's a reason there are young running quarterbacks, and not any old running quarterbacks.

Who knows how Griffin will look when he comes back from knee surgery, but what is clear is that the decision making of Griffin and Shanahan might have permanently altered the great trajectory of the Redskins going forward.

My father, a commodity trader, and thousands of others could see Griffin was a knee injury waiting to happen, why couldn¹t a veteran head coach with two Super Bowl rings?

The decision could define the Redskins for the next decade.