RGIII Fooled All of Us


Nov 2, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin (10) lays on the field after a play during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Redskins 29-26. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

How does the expression go, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me?”

That’s exactly what RGIII did to us. His stat line at Baylor impressed us enough to trade away our future….fool me once.

Then, in his rookie season, in what can only be called a flash-in-the-pan offense, he fooled us again….fool me twice.

Griffin was our savior, he was the franchise quarterback the team had been looking for for so many years…until he wasn’t. At times, Griffin looks like an above-average quarterback, while at times; Griffin looks like the latest failed experiment by the Redskins.

Patrick Ramsey, Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, Todd Collins, Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman, John Beck, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Robert Griffin III. Over the last 10 years, the Redskins have had 10 different quarterbacks start games for them. That’s not the type of list that inspires much confidence in a team’s front office. But, RGIII was supposed to be different. How did it go so wrong?

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Coming out of college, Griffin looked like a can’t-miss, once-in-a-generation type player. However, if you go below the surface, it’s clear that his stats might have more to do with Baylor’s offensive system than with him.

Art Briles joined Baylor as Head Coach in 2008, the same year Griffin started as a Freshman. Briles was known to develop quarterbacks and his offensive system did a good job of hiding their weaknesses. This same offensive philosophy made Kevin Kolb look like a star at Houston, but we all know how he progressed in the NFL. After being drafted by the Eagles, Kolb’s career lasted 34 total games before fizzling out, albeit some of that was due to concussions.

At Baylor, Briles made Griffin into a star. After tearing his ACL in his 2nd season at Baylor, Griffin came back with a vengeance in 2010. According to sports-reference.com, Griffin threw for over 3,500 yards and 22 TDs while rushing for 635 yards and 8 TDs. The part that is not mentioned is that Griffin was throwing to three future pros in Josh Gordon, Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams.

The following year is when Griffin’s NFL stock skyrocketed. In 2011, Griffin won the Heisman Trophy and AP Player of the Year Award after throwing for 4293 yards and 37 TDs while rushing for 699 yards and 10 TDs. Impressive, right?

The year after Griffin left, Nick Florence threw for 4,309 yards and 33 TDs while rushing for 568 yards and 10 TDs. Florence threw for the most yards in the NCAA in 2012 and broke the single-season passing yards record for Baylor. What team does he play for now? That’s right, he didn’t even get a whiff from an NFL team.

In 2013, there was no let-up for Baylor as Bryce Petty led the team to a school record 11 wins. That same year, Baylor led the FBS in scoring and total offense. Petty threw for 4,200 yards and 32 TDs while rushing for 14 more TDs. 2014 has been more of the same for Baylor, which just goes to show that the Bears system inflated Griffin’s value leading up to the draft.

There were concerns in scouting reports regarding Griffin not playing in a pro-style offense and rarely taking snaps from center. That didn’t deter the Redskins from trading the farm for him. Griffin’s first year as a pro made fans forget all the negatives, at least temporarily. Griffin energized not only the Redskins but the entire league.

After starting 3-6, Griffin helped the Redskins finish the season on a seven-game winning streak. That year he won Offensive Rookie of the Year, set a record for the highest passer rating by a rookie quarterback and maintained a 4:1 TD to INT ratio.

Griffin was phenomenal, there’s no denying that, but some credit has to go to Kyle Shanahan, the Redskins Offensive Coordinator, who had derived an offense that leveraged Griffin’s skill-set. Shanahan flat-out knows how to create a system that helps the quarterback succeed. In 2009, he helped Matt Schaub become a Pro Bowl QB. That year, Schaub led the league in passing yards and had more passing touchdowns and a better passer rating than future Hall of Famers Tom Brady and Kurt Warner.

This year, with the Browns, Shanahan has Brian Hoyer outperforming Griffin despite missing Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon for the majority of the season.

Whatever your feelings about Griffin, just know he’s already made us look like fools twice. As a fan, I hope he makes me and all other critics look like fools again.

Prove us wrong, give the Redskins the first competent quarterback we’ve had in over a decade.