Can RG3 still salvage his career?

Maybe the Redskins are done with Robert Griffin III, but not everyone feels the same.

Monday’s news that Kirk Cousins would be the Redskins’ starter for the upcoming season felt like the end of a long, drawn-out process in which everyone but the principals was aware of the final result. This was destined to happen, and if we were talking about a franchise other than the Redskins, we could have gone about it without all the subterfuge, passive-aggressive sniping, the unnecessary fourth series behind a depleted line and the concussed-not concussed fiasco. 

I’m not sold on Kirk Cousins, but that ship has sailed. He’ll get his shot, and for all the excitement about how fast he gets rid of the ball, let’s also remember that he has a tendency to do so directly to the opposition, so steel yourself for some questionable interceptions along the way. 

The Robert Griffin III saga has to be one of the most spectacular implosions of an NFL career I’ve ever witnessed, both on and off the field. Lest we forget, Griffin was hailed as the hero of this city just a few short years ago. Now he’s been cast as a pariah, apparently unable to handle the rudimentary efforts required to play the game and lacking the respect of everyone in the organization aside from the owner?

I firmly believe that once freed from the toxicity in Washington, RGIII can go on and have a solid NFL career. No, I don’t believe he can achieve greatness at this level, in part because the Redskins sacrificed his well-being on the shoddy FedEx Field “grass” on that fateful January night. But I do think he can become a productive starter in this league. 

Griffin brings to the table a strong arm, decent speed and a belief, however off-putting it may seem, that he can win. What’s wrong with that? Given a stable and competent organization, and time to develop his skill-set, there’s no reason to believe that Griffin can’t help an NFL team. 

You do realize that Brian Hoyer has a job? And Josh McCown? And Nick Foles? In a vacuum, I think there are a few teams who would roll the dice on RGIII. 

When I went to RGIII’s first press conference, I was blown away by his candor, enthusiasm and professionalism. He was one of the best quotes I’d run across in quite some time, and he was having fun with the entire experience. Thanks to a mix of hubris, bad advice, frustration and disappointment, now every word out of Griffin’s mouth feels cringe-worthy. I wish his people would advise him to clam up for a while. Forget the slogans – silence would be golden in this case, allowing him to focus his energy on getting to the right situation. 

But where is that? And when will it happen? It would only figure that the Redskins find a way to mess this up, and have a disgruntled RGIII on the sideline all year, when they would be best served by cutting ties completely – nothing good will come out of Griffin hanging around, since he knows the team doesn’t want to have anything to do with him.  

I hope someone sees through the noise and gives Griffin a second chance. I hope RGIII can look inward and figure out that some of the blame lies within. I hope we get another shot to see the electricity that No. 10 can bring to the field. I hope the Redskins are wrong.

Elliott Smith is a freelance writer who authored the baseball book "Beltway Boys", an insider’s look at the Washington Nationals’ breakout season. He previously covered the Washington Redskins for the Washington Post Express. 


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