With training camps in the National Football League set to open later this month, there are some serious issues that are surrounding the Washington Redskins. There is a growing voice that wants the Redskins to change their team nickname as it is deemed to be offensive to Native Americans. And as the United States Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the Redskins trademark over the name last year in a move to force Washington to change its nickname, team owner Daniel Snyder doesn’t appear willing to bend on his stance with the team’s nickname. And as the Redskins are dealing with this issue off of the football field, there is also uncertainty that is around their quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Griffin was the second overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Redskins. And in order for the Redskins to obtain the second overall pick to get Griffin, they had to give the St. Louis Rams a slew of picks that included three first-round picks. In 2012, Griffin did go on to be named as the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year as he helped the Redskins win the NFC East. But towards the end of that season, Griffin injured his knee and he attempted to play through it. Griffin’s injury forced him to miss the entire 2013 training camp which showed up in his play during the regular season as he was never up to speed with what the Redskins needed from him. The Redskins would go 3-13 in 2013 which would end up costing head coach Mike Shanahan his job. Snyder would go on to replace Shanahan with Jay Gruden as Redskins head coach. And Gruden’s job in Washington is simple; get the most out of Griffin.
Unlike Shanahan, Gruden isn’t fully attached to the hip with Griffin like Shanahan was due to the fact that he didn’t draft the quarterback. Gruden did bench Griffin last year as he was struggling and the upcoming National Football League season could be the final one for either or both men in Washington if the young quarterback doesn’t improve his play.
Griffin’s career record as a starter with the Redskins is 14-21 with 40 touchdowns and 23 interceptions while he is completing nearly 64 percent of his passes. In Griffin’s rookie season he was allowed to simply be an athlete that was playing quarterback as he displayed the athleticism that allowed him to win the 2011 Heisman Trophy at Baylor University. But now that Griffin is being asked to be a quarterback and make the majority of his plays from within the pocket instead of an athlete who freelances, he is being dealt some harsh adversity of life in the NFL.
At Baylor and in Griffin’s rookie season with the Redskins, he primarily played in the spread offense which meant that the majority of his snaps were in shotgun. And when Griffin didn’t see his first option in the passing game, he would just take off and run. But in order for Griffin to have success with Gruden and overall in the NFL, he must become more of a pocket passer which requires him to be able to scan the entire field from within the pocket, and if the first option is unavailable for him, to go on and find another open receiver.
Aside from Griffin’s play, the Redskins need him to become more of a leader as some of his teammates in Washington feel that he is “coddled” by Snyder. And once you factor in that Snyder has an affinity for his “beloved” quarterback in Griffin that isn’t on the same page with his head coach in Gruden, the Redskins franchise is currently the equivalent of pulling the pin on the grenade and simply hoping that it doesn’t explode while holding it which is a good example of why Washington has only gone to the playoffs four times during Snyder’s 16 years as their owner. And if Snyder, Gruden, and Griffin don’t figure things out over the next few months, we’ll be on the verge of yet “another” change with the Redskins as far as the head coach and the quarterback.