by Stephen D. Riley
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper
Robert Griffin III wasn’t expected to miss the Washington NFL’s Saturday night clash against Interstate 95 rival Baltimore, but a late hour scratch effectively removed RGIII from the starting lineup in Washington’s third preseason game, and possibly for the rest of the season. Griffin’s insert, backup signal caller Kirk Cousins, got the nod for Game 3 and the public nod to start in Washington’s opener against the Miami Dolphins. Griffin was already under heavy scrutiny before the 2015 season even started but his concussion last week after a self-inflicted fumble left a cracked door wide open and it’s one he won’t be able to shut close.
Cousins weathered a tough start in Baltimore on Saturday to lead consecutive scoring drives on Washington’s final two series of the first half. With Griffin sidelined and the season only a couple of weeks away, Cousins will have the job of starting the season and as long as he doesn’t dramatically bomb, Washington could probably stick it out allseason with the former fourth rounder at signal caller. It’s fair to assume that Washington head coach Jay Gruden has had enough of RGIII in his two-year stint in D.C. and he’s not going to let the RGIII hype derail him or his team. Making the move to Cousins now before the season even starts makes too much sense for Gruden on all levels.
In Griffin’s limited preseason action so far this year, he hasn’t impressed. He’s been skittish in the pocket and he hasn’t made any “wow” throws. He’s just not the same quarterback that he was prior to his gruesome knee injury and it’s becoming clearer and clearer as the seasons go by that RGIII will never return to his pre-injury form. Coaches have tried to accommodate for Griffin by trying to mold him into a pocket passer but Griffin’s best attribute was always his evasive ability and his freakish athleticism. Now that those two aspects are gone, so is Griffin’s effectiveness.
Most Washington fans don’t know what to make out of RGIII. He was the franchise savior for a course of 12 games or so in his inaugural season and now it’s clear that Washington just can’t win with the brittle quarterback. The image of Griffin fumbling the ball on his own only to be concussed by an incoming Detroit Lions defensive lineman was a perfect summary of Griffin’s last few seasons after his rookie year knee injury.
The signal caller has done so much self-inflicted damage to his team, his ego and his career that it’s now obvious he can’t and probably will never be the guy to put Washington over the top. The magic lasted for all of one magical campaign and no matter how much effort the franchise and both Griffin have put in to trying to piece Griffin’s career back together, the writing is on the wall: Griffin’s career in the District should be considered officially over.