Poll: Should Shanahan have benched RGIII earlier?

posted at 2:01 pm on January 7, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

I knew this would be a controversy as soon as the Redskins offense ran out of gas in the second quarter of yesterday’s NFC wildcard game yesterday, even before starting QB Robert Griffin III hobbled off the field late in the game.  Never mind that RGIII’s backup, Kirk Cousins, proved just as ineffective in the fourth quarter yesterday.  The sharp knives are out for Mike Shanahan for allowing –gasp — his star player to aggravate an injury by playing in the first place:

Robert Griffin III reached too far for the football, his already injured right leg twisting gruesomely behind him.

Just like that, Griffin was done. And so were the Washington Redskins.

Actually, they were done after the first quarter.  Washington couldn’t move the ball after scoring two quick TDs, which is in part the argument that Mike Freeman makes:

Late in the game, Griffin’s knee turned awkwardly (again). This time it was as if you could see the ligaments and joints crunching and twisting in real time, the way Earth and buildings shift during a tremor. It was a shock this hadn’t happened before that moment. The medical staff removed Griffin and he was out of the game.

This is one of those instances when a play, a moment, eclipses the contest, even a playoff game like this one. This dilemma has plagued coaches, and the sport, since football’s birth. How long do you allow an injured, tough player to be, well, injured and tough, before protecting that player from himself?

This was an easy test to pass yet Shanahan failed miserably. Washington lost to Seattle, 24-14, for one reason and one reason only: the complete mismanagement of Griffin by Shanahan. Griffin should have been benched at halftime (at the latest), and the fact Shanahan didn’t do it was terrible judgment.

Actually, though, the medical staff cleared RGIII to stay in the game after that first awkward fall.  Shanahan sent him back into the game — RGIII later said he would have been “highly upset” had he been benched at that point — but the Redskins offense never threatened in the game after that:

The medical staff looked at Griffin when the Redskins were leading 14-0 and cleared him to play but this isn’t necessarily about medical issues. It’s about effectiveness issues. Coaches are paid to make these kinds of decisions for the betterment of the team and Shanahan didn’t make the right one.

There was proof at almost every part of the game that Griffin shouldn’t have been on the field. On one deep pass that right knee clearly had difficulty generating stability and power on a deep ball that was intercepted (despite Griffin saying it didn’t). The football floated lightly into the sky with no power as if it was thrown by Mark Sanchez in a tropical storm.

One of the game’s mighty arms had been weakened by an injured wheel. One of the league’s Supermen had become ordinary. On a run in the fourth quarter, going to his left, Griffin ran like a pregnant yak.

I’ll spare you further analogical atrocities.  Freeman isn’t wrong here; Griffin was ineffective.  However, let’s take a brief inventory of the counterfactual.  Let’s say Shanahan overruled his medical staff and benched RGIII after the first quarter and played Kirk Cousins.  Cousins played in the final few minutes and was … terrible, despite having prepared all week to go into this key game.  He went 3-10 in passing for 31 yards, for a QB rating of 2.1 with the season on the line.  The Seattle defense was clearly better suited to defend against Cousins, who did win two games for Washington when RGIII was out with the original knee injury.  Had they made the switch earlier in the game, when Washington had the lead, he could have handed off more to Alfred Morris, who had a decent day — but RGIII was doing that, too, and drives were going nowhere as Seattle keyed in on the rush. And let’s not forget that the fumble that drove RGIII out of the game and gave Seattle a field goal was a bad snap, not a fumble caused by the injury, the second such bad snap of the game.

And if that had happened, with a visibly upset RGIII on the sidelines and Cousins losing the lead, what would these sportswriters be writing about Shanahan today?  I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have been complimentary.

In the end, a coach has to deal with plenty of second-guessing, so this is fair game for Shanahan.  But those who are pointing fingers seem somewhat oblivious to the fact that any number of players take the field each game at less than 100% health, especially in the playoffs. They do so because of their own competitive natures, and because the stakes are high. Maybe QBs are just more visible, but I don’t see anywhere near this kind of scolding over decisions to play others with existing injuries who nonetheless get medical clearance to play. Pierre Garcon and London Fletcher both had injuries during the week, for instance, and played in the game, and Cousins was just coming off a case of the flu.

There was reason for hope for Griffin, too. While it’s clear that RGIII aggravated the knee injury, he didn’t leave the field, and stuck around long enough to walk around the field and greet Seahawks players after the final gun. If the medical staff was worried about a significant new injury to the knee, RGIII would have been in the locker room long before, or on crutches.  Hopefully the in-game injury was not any more serious than the already-extant underlying issue, and we can see Griffin return to full capability over the off-season.

What do you think? Take the poll:

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yes.

KCB on January 7, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Had RG3 gone out early, and they still lost, they would have faced scrutiny for giving up (Jay Cutler in last year’s playoffs)

El_Terrible on January 7, 2013 at 2:04 PM

I think the play calling really needed to change though. I recall one play where they had him run left, and he was just hobbling as best he could to the sideline. That was too much to watch.

El_Terrible on January 7, 2013 at 2:07 PM

I guess he isn’t Superman. Lessons learned.

tomas on January 7, 2013 at 2:07 PM

If he wasn’t going to pull him right after he re-aggravated it in the 1st quarter, he should have after he threw the interception because he couldn’t push off his leg. he clearly couldn’t run or throw properly.

forest on January 7, 2013 at 2:07 PM

We need Congressional hearings…

Seven Percent Solution on January 7, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Had RG3 gone out early, and they still lost, they would have faced scrutiny for giving up (Jay Cutler in last year’s playoffs)

El_Terrible on January 7, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Agreed. I’m sure it was on RG3′s and Shannahan’s mind too.

WisRich on January 7, 2013 at 2:09 PM

It was horrible to watch, I was waiting for his leg to completely buckle, and it finally did…
Coach was an idiot, he didn’t even conference with doctors, just let the player dictate what to do…and what did they gain? A loss, but risked permanent (and I bet it affects his play from now on till early retirement) injury.

It was obvious he was severely injured, hampered…and to add to that, his backup is pretty darn good.

right2bright on January 7, 2013 at 2:10 PM

I thought the same thing about Johnny Manziel at the cotton bowl. Did you see the numbers that kid put up on friday night? I was like–dude?! save some for your junior year or something.

ted c on January 7, 2013 at 2:12 PM

He couldn’t run, and throwing is not his strength (without the run threat), so what was the coach thinking?

right2bright on January 7, 2013 at 2:12 PM

…at least starting the second half!…they may have ruined their franchise player for life. Curt has done the job in the past…heck…in the last couple of minutes the receivers dropped four out of five balls that hit their hands!

KOOLAID2 on January 7, 2013 at 2:12 PM

by that I meant that I thought Johnny Manziel, like RGIII, was working awfully hard at this stage of his career with the cost being paid for by his own body–unnecessarily.

ted c on January 7, 2013 at 2:13 PM

A

lthough it’s not our business, I watched the game and thought that RG3 should have been taken out for his own sake and that of the team. I mean once it became clear that he couldn’t run or even walk without limping, what was the point?
Anyway it was the coach’s call and Shanahan should have, in my opinion. Good thing the franchise wasn’t more permanently damaged. But that’s NFL football for ya.

Randy

williars on January 7, 2013 at 2:15 PM

The medical staff looked at Griffin when the Redskins were leading 14-0 and cleared him to play

BTW, the doctor say differently, that RG would not let him or his staff diagnose him…

Dr. James Andrews disputes Mike Shanahan’s assertions regarding RG3′s knee

That’s not how Andrews saw it at all.
“[Griffin] didn’t even let us look at him,” Andrews said. “He came off the field, walked through the sidelines, circled back through the players, and took off back to the field. It wasn’t our opinion. We didn’t even get to touch him or talk to him. Scared the hell out of me.”

right2bright on January 7, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Actually, though, the medical staff cleared RGIII to stay in the game after that first awkward fall. Shanahan sent him back into the game — RGIII later said he would have been “highly upset” had he been benched at that point

I’m sure RGIII would have been upset. Most players would be in that position, so intent they often are in disregarding injuries to stay in the game.

Its up to the medical and coaching staff to act prudently to protect the players from themselves.

The Redskins weren’t doing much with RGIII anyway, so protecting the long term interests of the the team and him would have prudently had him sitting out the remainder of the game.

hawkeye54 on January 7, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Hopefully the in-game injury was not any more serious than the already-extant underlying issue, and we can see Griffin return to full capability over the off-season.

He will never be the same, and each year will be worse for him…he may have a couple of good years, but ask Joe Namath what retiring with bad knees are like…worse is playing the last few years with bad wheels…

right2bright on January 7, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Never mind that RGIII’s backup, Kirk Cousins, proved just as ineffective in the fourth quarter yesterday.

Sorry, but this is just stupid. Kirk Cousins was the only one doing anything good there for his first drive(the only drive where he could have been able to turn the game around)… his receivers kept dropping passes and get received bad snaps too.

ninjapirate on January 7, 2013 at 2:18 PM

It’s not valid to base a conclusion on how Cousins would have performed had he gone in earlier on how did in the final minutes. The game was lost by the time RGIII came out – the D was gassed, having spent far more time on the field than they would have had there been a marginally effective QB in the game, and the Redskins were demoralized having given up 21 straight.

Could Cousins have possibly performed worse that Griffin, who could neither run nor throw? We don’t know since he wasn’t given the chance. Bad call, made even worse by fact that not only did they lose anyway, but Shanahan was putting RGIII at risk with every snap.

Dead Hand Control on January 7, 2013 at 2:19 PM

You need to add another choice to your poll answers:

“In the third quarter when it was obvious RGIII could no longer run and was limping around in pain.”

Stu Gotts on January 7, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Once his passing was affected – he couldn’t push off that leg – he had to come out. He has a stronger arm than Cousins but not on one leg.

If that MRI shows another tear – a second since he torn it in college – the Redskins might be in trouble. Dr. James Andrews, the brilliant orthopedic surgeon who has done so many surgeries on athletes (Tommy John surgery et cetera), works with the Redskins and says he’s been holding his breath watching RGII play.

If Shanahan was aware of that, he needs to get hammered.

SteveMG on January 7, 2013 at 2:20 PM

This article is written with a mousey “what if” passive view of a clear-cut situation:
- the attending physician was “very nervous” BEFORE the game
- RG III aggravated his knee at the end of the 2nd scoring drive, effectively nullifying his effectiveness
- this was confirmed THROUGHOUT the 2nd and 3rd quarters
- this was a ridiculous moment in Shananhan’s career, he should be fired.

To use a baseball analogy,
- when your pitcher is HURT and INEFFECTIVE, you remove him and put in ANOTHER PITCHER who has PROVEN TO BE EFFECTIVE. You don’t wait until the 9th innning to take him out, you MAKE THE HARD CALL and take him out in the 5th inning.

This article stinks in is passivity and “oh goodness, think of the meanies who would be shouting if Shanahan HAD MADE THE TOUGH / RIGHT CALL”

Any coach wanting to win a game doesn’t keep a CLEARLY HURT and CLEARLY INEFFECTIVE QB in the game !!!!!
- Shanahan should be fired.

williampeck1958 on January 7, 2013 at 2:21 PM

he may have a couple of good years, but ask Joe Namath what retiring with bad knees are like

Let’s hope not. Namath had major cartilage problems; RG III has had ligament damage.

Not the same but your point is still valid. Modern medicine can only do so much with ligaments repeatedly shredded.

SteveMG on January 7, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Redskins better get used to it. RG3 is a runner so he will be injured quite a bit. There is a reason running QBs never win in the NFL. If RG3 wants to succeed he is going to have to become a pocket passer. Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger. Those are the last Superbowl winning QBs. Not one of them is thought of as very athletic. The RG3 type QBs can win in college but not the NFL. That is why Andrew Luck was the top pick and why he will be the most successful out of the two when it is all said and done.

The Notorious G.O.P on January 7, 2013 at 2:22 PM

It’s no exaggeration to say that the future of the Redskins franchise rests on RGIII’s health.

Shanahan didn’t just screw up the management of this game – he just risked the entire forseeable future of the franchise and got nothing at all in return.

Tom Servo on January 7, 2013 at 2:23 PM

We need Congressional hearings…

Seven Percent Solution on January 7, 2013 at 2:08 PM

My collie says:

Why stop there? Congress can raise taxes on the Redskins’ owners, ya’ know.

Not only that, but I’m fairly certain that the coaches have been using semi-automatic weapons with extra-large clips.

CyberCipher on January 7, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Add another factor: that field was terrible.

If you put it all together Shanahan made a horrendous decision keeping him in.

SteveMG on January 7, 2013 at 2:24 PM

You read sportswriters?

You could find more honesty, truth, and talent by reading romance novels instead.

Adjoran on January 7, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Who cares?

Dante on January 7, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Let’s hope not. Namath had major cartilage problems; RG III has had ligament damage.

Not the same but your point is still valid. Modern medicine can only do so much with ligaments repeatedly shredded.

SteveMG on January 7, 2013 at 2:22 PM

We don’t know the extent of his damage, and probably will never really know…but it’s difficult to look at that tape and think that his cartilage wasn’t damaged. Namath’s cartilage wasn’t from some birth defect, his legs were taken out too many times…RG will suffer the same as a running QB. As someone stated, you don’t survive in the NFL these days by being a running QB, your a target and defenseless too often.

right2bright on January 7, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Who cares?

Dante on January 7, 2013 at 2:27 PM

You do because you posted…another ironic post by you…but you do get the attention…like the attention a monkey gets by performing on cue…and you are right on cue…dance you little monkey dance!!

right2bright on January 7, 2013 at 2:30 PM

That is why Andrew Luck was the top pick and why he will be the most successful out of the two when it is all said and done.

The Notorious G.O.P on January 7, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Odds are, long after RG has “retired”…

right2bright on January 7, 2013 at 2:31 PM

As a non-Skins fan, I don’t have a stake in this debate, but I say, it’s the playoffs. Play to win and go with your best players. The real flaw was in not adjusting the game plan to accomodate an immobile RGIII.

Robert_Paulson on January 7, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Time was when a tight end was a big body on the field for blocking linebackers and cornerbacks on a blitz, and perhaps the occasional pass play. Now many of them lead their teams with regular season receptions.

How about a two quarterback offense? Not just a backup who waits for the call to go in, and who NEVER get game time under the center during the year, but a REAL two quarterback offense that is developed and adjusted for the players’ styles and strengths, where each compliments the other.

Defenses couldn’t watch game tapes fast enough.

I’m just sayin’!

grumpy_old_soldier on January 7, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Actually, they were done after the first quarter. Washington couldn’t move the ball after scoring two quick TDs, which is in part the argument that Mike Freeman makes:

It was risky putting him in that long, but he started to limp and needed to be pulled. Sometimes one has to “man-up” and do the smart thing, and deny one’s desires. There never was much probability of a Washington win yesterday, but a very high probability of permanently damaging their QB.

Putting him in was dumb. Keeping him in was negligent and irresponsible. The coach was in a no win situation, but a coach must always err on the side of safety.

dogsoldier on January 7, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Oh please!

Joe Nameth played Hung over many times, stumbling
around….with bad knees to boot.

Yes, he should’ve stayed in. These guys make MILLIONS
of dollars. They should be out there, even if they’ve been
dismembered!

ToddPA on January 7, 2013 at 2:35 PM

The real flaw was in not adjusting the game plan to accomodate an immobile RGIII

I thought the skins game plan WAS the mobility of RGIII. If he’s immobile, he’s not much use, as I understand. The adjustment should have been his backup and hope for the best, letting RGIII heal for next season. Seems he’d be worth more in the long run in keeping him out of the game in his condition.

hawkeye54 on January 7, 2013 at 2:37 PM

It’s interesting that the two biggest controversies in Washington DC sports this past year have been on preserving player health, with the Nationals benching Strasburg (much to some fans dismay) and the Redskins playing RGIII (much to some fans dismay).

bobs1196 on January 7, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Namath’s cartilage wasn’t from some birth defect, his legs were taken out too many times

Yeah, but remember the type of surgeries that he went under. They opened up the entire knee and took out all of the torn stuff. Cartilage and ligaments. Mediaeval surgery compared to today.

Today with arthroscopic surgery then can remove the torn parts and not do as much invasive work.

And let’s be blunt: Namath wasn’t exactly known for taking care of his body. RG III is the complete opposite from what I’ve read.

But he definitely needs to rein in his running. Especially in the open field. Sideline stuff? Okay. But not middle of the field. No QB can survive that.

SteveMG on January 7, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Another “Let’s build a special room in Canton for RG3″ show. Slow down folks and give Shanahan a chance to ruin the kid. He got a good start in that direction yesterday but it takes time. We all can’t be Rex Ryan or Dan Snyder.

RickinNH on January 7, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Quite frankly with Obama re-[elected, taxes going sky high,Israel on the edge of extinction, guns about to be confiscated by government hooligans and the national debt spiraling out of control, when a coach should have replaced an injured athlete has the metaphysical import of a mole on one of Barbra Streisand’s teats.

MaiDee on January 7, 2013 at 2:41 PM

- when your pitcher is HURT and INEFFECTIVE, you remove him and put in ANOTHER PITCHER who has PROVEN TO BE EFFECTIVE. You don’t wait until the 9th innning to take him out, you MAKE THE HARD CALL and take him out in the 5th inning.

williampeck1958 on January 7, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Reminds me of the baseball playoff series between the Giants and the Reds. Iin Game 4, despite holding a 3-2 lead, Barry Zito was not effective in a must-win game, so Giants Manager Bruce Bochy removed him in the 3rd inning, and then put in Tim Lincecum in the 4th. Lincecum allowed 1 run in 4 1/3 innings and allowed Bochy to save the rest of his bullpen for the decisive Game 5.

In Game 5, Reds hurler Mat Latos struggled in the 5th inning. With 2 runs already in, Reds Manager Dusty Baker allowed Latos to pitch to Buster Posey with the bases loaded and only one out. Five pitches later, Posey’s grand slam gave the Giants a 6-0 lead; they won 6-4.

aunursa on January 7, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Blah blah blah … rg3 … Blah blah blah. RG3 is a good player, but he is not the best rookie QB in the NFL this year! Wilson proved that the title is his yesterday as he sprinted to get in front of and block for his ball carriers as they headed down the field. The east coast bias of the sports media is worse than the liberal bias of the news media.

Seabecker on January 7, 2013 at 2:48 PM

dance you little monkey dance!!

right2bright on January 7, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Isn’t that racist..? /Howard Cosell

affenhauer on January 7, 2013 at 2:48 PM

It’s all moot. Whenever a quarterback who uses his feet to “remake the position” has come along, his durability has been the major failing point.

The last quarterback I can remember using his feet to good advantage and had a relatively long career was Fran Tarkenton. But his scrambles were to keep the play (and himself) alive so he could throw.

Mitoch55 on January 7, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Had RG3 gone out early, and they still lost, they would have faced scrutiny for giving up (Jay Cutler in last year’s playoffs)

El_Terrible on January 7, 2013 at 2:04 PM

+1. Very easy to be a Monday-morning(afternoon?) QB and charge that a head coach should have pulled his team’s best player because he was playing hurt like 95% of all NFL players do at this point in the year. Shanahan isn’t a doctor. The team doctors told him that his best player could play. The player told him he could play. And now he’s supposed to bench the guy that carried his team to the playoffs after a rough quarter or two?

I do disagree with Ed calling Cousin’s performance “terrible.” The game was already over once he came into the game and his team was in scramble mode. Plus there were several drops and protection break-downs after Cousins came in.

JDF123 on January 7, 2013 at 3:01 PM

RG3′s ability is not the issue here. He is a talented athlete in a sport which relies on the aggressive nature of young men. He is in his early 20s. Of course he does not want to come out of the game. Unfortunately, he (and others like him) have not gained the judgement and life experience necessary to always make the correct call in a situation like this. That is the coach’s job, which Shanahan failed to do. I do not know what the coach was thinking, but today’s “win at any cost” mentality sometimes clouds otherwise good judgement. It can be easy to take risks when it is not your own body on the line (politicians do it all the time). I hope RG3 makes a full recovery and has a long and successful career. I hope the coach can live with the result of his decision. If I were a Redskins player, I would wonder about my coach’s decision making process.

rjh on January 7, 2013 at 3:04 PM

I see a new “Griffin Law” in the making. We need to regulate teams, punish owners, and confiscate guns.

Archivarix on January 7, 2013 at 3:04 PM

And let’s be blunt: Namath wasn’t exactly known for taking care of his body. RG III is the complete opposite from what I’ve read.

But he definitely needs to rein in his running. Especially in the open field. Sideline stuff? Okay. But not middle of the field. No QB can survive that.

SteveMG on January 7, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Agreed, but Namath also wasn’t facing 280lb lineman that can outrun most of the running backs…but your point well taken about “medieval” surgery.

Yet, no one has ever had a better book title…”I Can’t Wait Until Tomorrow … ‘Cause I Get Better-Looking Every Day”

Broadway Joe helped put pro football on the map…what a great personality.

right2bright on January 7, 2013 at 3:07 PM

The last quarterback I can remember using his feet to good advantage and had a relatively long career was Fran Tarkenton. But his scrambles were to keep the play (and himself) alive so he could throw.

Mitoch55 on January 7, 2013 at 2:57 PM

And let’s face it, he was small, but the linemen did not have the athletic ability or size, of today’s linemen, Fran would last three season’s at the most in today’s game…

Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones hated chasing him around the Coliseum in 100 degree temps…

right2bright on January 7, 2013 at 3:11 PM

After RG3 won the Heisman his ability to be successful in the NFL went out the window. A QB winning the Heisman is the NFL death knell.

Andre Ware – Fail
Gino Torretta – Fail
Charlie Ward – Fail(went to the NBA)
Danny Wuerffel – Fail
Chris Weinke – Fail
Eric Crouch – Fail
Carson Palmer – ok but overall fail
Jason White – Fail
Matt Leinart – Fail
Troy Smith – Fail
Tim Tebow – looking like Fail
Sam Bradford – TBD
Cam Newton – TBD
Robert Griffin III – TBD

The Notorious G.O.P on January 7, 2013 at 3:15 PM

And let’s face it, he was small, but the linemen did not have the athletic ability or size, of today’s linemen, Fran would last three season’s at the most in today’s game…

Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones hated chasing him around the Coliseum in 100 degree temps…

right2bright on January 7, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Let’s face it, he never would have been given the chance in today’s game. Once the NFL gets an idea in its head (Hey! Let’s have running quarterbacks who have legs the size of twigs!), it’s difficult to change their minds.

For me, Roman Gabriel was the man. He stood like a tree in the pocket.

Mitoch55 on January 7, 2013 at 3:16 PM

3 of the 4 winning wild card teams each scored 24 points.

I am not a fan of any DC franchise in any sport — their fans are the liberal journalists, lobbyists, politicians, consultants, realtors, and academics that hate the rest of us… the DC Establishment.

matthew8787 on January 7, 2013 at 3:19 PM

After RG3 won the Heisman his ability to be successful in the NFL went out the window. A QB winning the Heisman is the NFL death knell.

Andre Ware – Fail
Gino Torretta – Fail
Charlie Ward – Fail(went to the NBA)
Danny Wuerffel – Fail
Chris Weinke – Fail
Eric Crouch – Fail
Carson Palmer – ok but overall fail
Jason White – Fail
Matt Leinart – Fail
Troy Smith – Fail
Tim Tebow – looking like Fail
Sam Bradford – TBD
Cam Newton – TBD
Robert Griffin III – TBD

The Notorious G.O.P on January 7, 2013 at 3:15 PM

You missed one. Doug Flutie. Although he had to take the CFL route to prove he could play in the NFL.

Mitoch55 on January 7, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Cousins came in in like the last 4 minutes and didn’t do that bad. He was accurate.

I’m glad they went with RGIII though. I’m a Seahawks fan.

portlandon on January 7, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Don’t give Mike Shanahan credit for “pulling” Griffin out of the game. He had the chance after the Skins took a 14-0 lead the Griffin was plainly hobbled. He had the chance when it was plainly obvious that a 9-yard run made Griffin look twice his age, or when he was sailing every pass high because his throws had zero leg drive. For everything that Shanahan and Griffin had done to get the Skins to this point, they both failed to do their part to help the team win. Hubris at its most glaring.

Shanahan didn’t pull Griffin out of the game. Griffin’s gimpy knee had had enough. As a Redskins fan, I’m glad they lost. Now Griffin has the whole of the offseason to rehabilitate and hopefully get back to where he left off before the injury, and wiser for it.

Sgt Steve on January 7, 2013 at 3:22 PM

You missed one. Doug Flutie. Although he had to take the CFL route to prove he could play in the NFL.

Mitoch55 on January 7, 2013 at 3:19 PM

I tried to stay somewhat recent. The last decent Heisman QB was Viinnie T. But was he really successfull?

The Notorious G.O.P on January 7, 2013 at 3:22 PM

The east coast bias of the sports media is worse than the liberal bias of the news media.

Another good reason that the Nationals lost to the Cardinals last fall, and that the Redskins lost to the Seahawks on Sunday.

matthew8787 on January 7, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Mike Shanahan has been a blight on the NFL long before this. He is no sportsman. And now he has endangered what should be a great career by RG3.

WannabeAnglican on January 7, 2013 at 3:27 PM

RGIII is a good pocket passer but he isn’t great at it (yet). His gift is that he is super mobile and a good passer. Once he lost that mobility, he really was not helping his team. They should have subbed Cousins in for him sometime in the 2nd quarter. Maybe with a quarter or two to limber up some more Cousins would have been more effective. At worse they would have lost anyways and Griffin might be in better shape for rehab.

Everyone watching that game could see Griffin was getting less effective as his mobility from the knee injury was getting worse and worse. I wonder if Shanahan even listened to the medical staff at any point before the final injury. According to Dr Andrews, Shanahan has ignored them before.

Dawnsblood on January 7, 2013 at 3:28 PM

The coach should have put the back up in as soon as RG3 started limping. Cousins proved he could win in a pressure situation. Mindless coaching. A players like RG3 is not coming out of the game. He will play hurt and he will do his best to hide his injury.He’s not selfish its not ego its his unwillingness to let his team down. This is a fine young man that all young men should emulate.

Thicklugdonkey on January 7, 2013 at 3:29 PM

On behalf of the other 98.5% of the country, we couldn’t care less that the Redskins lost, or why they did. Here’s another theory as well: Seattle has some bad boys on their team…oh, and a rookie QB of their own being totally overlooked by RGIII slurpers.

Hope RG’s okay. After Adrian Peterson this year, they’re apparently getting pretty good at knee fixin’.

But cry me a freaking river about Shanahan. Dude played the guy who got him there, and did not want to come out. Period.

Sugar Land on January 7, 2013 at 3:31 PM

As a Maryland native Skins fan who lives out in WA and has seahawks season tickets, I was well aware how good the Seattle defense was. I figured the skins had a shot but they’d really have to be operating on all cylinders and possibly needed a flukey play to really work out in their favor. Unfortunately the flukey plays ended up being RG3 ruining his knee by taking a weird step and Seattle fumbling a handoff but turning it into a first down.

Once it was obvious RG3 couldn’t move (or throw, he waaaaay underthrew the WR on that interception by Earl Thomas) I just turned the game off at halftime. I flipped back and saw RG3 lumber his way for a first down, but the play was so sad I had to turn the game back off.

There wasn’t much margin of error for the skins going into it and an immobile/ineffective RG3 put them well outside of that margin. Putting Cousins in likely wouldn’t have mattered because they weren’t the same high powered Redskins. I don’t think keeping RG3 in really cost them the game. I think they were done once he tweaked the knee.

hump1201 on January 7, 2013 at 3:31 PM

The east coast bias of the sports media is worse than the liberal bias of the news media.

It’s disgusting.

RGIII! RGIII! RGIII!! The Seattle Seahwawks QB actually had a better record than RGIII. They are both rookie QB’s. Russel Wilson was drafted 12th out the 3rd round, and has played better than RGIII.

Watching the Tostitos Bowl the other day, you wouldn’t have known that Kansas State was playing the Ducks. All they could talk about the Collin Klein. Even after the Ducks destroyed them.

portlandon on January 7, 2013 at 3:31 PM

I agree with most of your argument, Ed, but maybe if Cousins starts the second half he gets a score and the D still holds Seattle scoreless in the 3rd then different things happen in the 4th. If a limping RGIII isn’t out there maybe the bad snap that caused the fumble doesn’t happen. Sometimes “manning up” means admitting you’re not being effective and turning the reigns over to someone else who can be.

stukinIL4now on January 7, 2013 at 3:37 PM

I have nothing to add to the conversation, but decades ago, when I was a mere child of 20, I met Joe Namath at a golf tournament. He said he’d follow me anywhere.

I smiled, chatted briefly and gently dismissed him. I thought he was a gross old man. I think he was in his mid to late 30′s at the time, lol. (Yeah, I knew who he was but still thought it was gross that he hit on me.)

There aren’t many places I can retell that story. That is all.

Back to manly talk about knees…

Fallon on January 7, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Skins fan here.
Sad to see what happened yesterday and I am worried about RG III and the skins going forward…hoping and praying for the best w/ RG III.

Coach should have pulled him after the 1 qtr.
For anyone who has watched the Skins over the last 6 – 7 games….their whole offense relies on a QB (RG) being able to sell a fake, run a boot-leg or pass it, or use an option.

RGIII is very accurate with the passing, so I don’t get those saying he isn’t a great passer. Once his knee went gimpy and he couldn’t put weight on it, then his passes began to sale and look bad.
And they couldn’t use Morris effectively either because RGIII was no longer a running threat. Once the Seahawks saw him go gimpy on that little 9 yrd run he did, they knew right there he wasn’t a threat and they could bunch the line….
The skins (once they started their winning streak) were stretching defenses side to side with either Morris running it….RG running it, or RG passing it to one of his 3 receivers.
And that frustrated the teams they played because they had no answer to contain them.

Once RG’s knee went gimpy, that was it. The whole game plan went out the window and the Seahawks knew it.

Cousins is actually a great backup QB and I think he would have done as good as RG did in this situation…..

What Shannahan did was dumb and risky to your team’s QB….dumb move on his part.

MityMaxx on January 7, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Fallon on January 7, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Actually, over the years there have probably been a lot of women that can tell that story but with various endings… Meh.

Fallon on January 7, 2013 at 3:43 PM

@hump1201 on January 7, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Agree mostly with your points…
I disagree on Cousins.

He really is no slouch of a backup QB.
I have seen far worse…..

MityMaxx on January 7, 2013 at 3:44 PM

I listened to the game on a radio so I am going out on a limb here… but if you have a valuable car and the engine starts smoking and warning lights start flashing you don’t enter it in a race. I am sure RGIII wanted to play and insisted he could finish the game… but management have a responsibility to think beyond one game. I know someone whose promising athletic career was ruined because he played on in a match with a ankle injury in one game. I hope RGIII is able to fully recover.

lexhamfox on January 7, 2013 at 3:44 PM

@rjh on January 7, 2013 at 3:04 PM

Agreed.

That is why he is a coach. He needs to make the tough call.

At 22, RG thinks he is 10 ft tall and bullet proof.
That is where a seasoned coach needs to step in and make the tough call.

MityMaxx on January 7, 2013 at 3:49 PM

@JDF123 on January 7, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Yep….

But at least you would have a great QB ready to start next year.

As it is now, there is a high possibility this will not be the case.

Very costly mistake.

MityMaxx on January 7, 2013 at 3:51 PM

After the Seahawks sacrificed a 15 yard penalty for a free shot at RG III, who I think is awesome, Shanahan should have pulled him. Cousins is a good quarterback.

But especially when he saw it was not only affecting his running but also his ability to throw! He couldn’t do squat. I know he’s a warrior, but Joe Webb played better on Saturday than RG III did in the second half of that game.

PastorJon on January 7, 2013 at 3:56 PM

We need Congressional hearings… HELD BY THE CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS…Seven Percent Solution on January 7, 2013 at 2:08 PM

FIFY… Dan Snider, please meet Maxine Watters…

/s

Khun Joe on January 7, 2013 at 3:57 PM

One word:

Buckner

BobMbx on January 7, 2013 at 4:01 PM

That is where a seasoned coach needs to step in and make the tough call.

I get the point, but how is it a tough call when your offense stalled IMMEDIATELY after RG III went gimpy after the 2nd touchdown, and remained so for 2+ more quarters. It’s not a “tough call” to take out an INEFFECTIVE player when a HEALTHY player whose shown some promise is STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO YOU.

IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN AN *EASY* CALL, because he was not only HURT but COMPLETELY INEFFECTIVE. Sheesh.

williampeck1958 on January 7, 2013 at 4:09 PM

It’s disgusting.

RGIII! RGIII! RGIII!! The Seattle Seahwawks QB actually had a better record than RGIII. They are both rookie QB’s. Russel Wilson was drafted 12th out the 3rd round, and has played better than RGIII.

portlandon on January 7, 2013 at 3:31 PM

And he seems a lot more durable than Griffin.

Mitoch55 on January 7, 2013 at 4:26 PM

The play calling was awful to watch. You have one of the best young running backs in the league (Morris), and the stretch toss play was gashing the Seahawks for an average of 5 yards per time (Morris was 16 carries for 80 yards), yet the Redskins would rather throw the ball with an injured QB. Considering the injury situation to RGIII, Morris should have gotten it at least 30 times.

It was really frustrating to watch. Sometimes offensive coordinators go out of their way to show how smart they are by calling as many different passing plays as possible and worse yet many were WR screens something plays right into the hands of the physical Seahawks DBs.

William Eaton on January 7, 2013 at 4:37 PM

From the 2nd Quarter to the 4th Quarter RB Alfred Morris touched the ball for a grand total of 7 times!!!

In the first Quarter he touched 9 times!!!

The Redskins went out of their way to stop themselves. Let see lets not continue giving to our young and physical stud running back who gained more yards than any running back in Redskins history for a single season and who was the prime reason the Redskins had a 14-0 lead at the end of the 1st quarter….NO! Let instead make an injured RGIII win game by throwing bubble screens and force him run around and get killed…

Even a senile Gibbs could have figured this out.

William Eaton on January 7, 2013 at 4:48 PM

His hot start followed by ineffectiveness may have a simple explanantion. I once saw Steve Young talking about an injured quarterback who was struggling late (Donovon McNabb?). Steve said, “Yeah, they painkillers they give you don’t last the whole game.”

grahampowell on January 7, 2013 at 5:04 PM

Woulda, coulda, shoulda. The Jerry Jones story in a nutshell. Sad in Texas.

Limerick on January 7, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Playing that option/running QB scheme in the NFL will never work. The defenses are just too fast and strong for a running QB to survive. What Washington should have done this year is beef up their O-line, and work with Griffin to develop him into a pocket passer who has the capability to run when he needs to. Then, in a few years they’d be unstoppable and on their way to a SuperBowl win.

Instead, they did the regular stupid Redskins thing by picking up Morris, Garcon, and Cousins. They picked these guys up because Snyder wants a SuperBowl NOW, and doesn’t want to spend years developing a team (see: Haynesworth, Albert). But as I’ve always said, only the Yankees can buy a title.

So what they’re ending up with is a young, thoroughbred QB who’s going to have a three to five year career before his injuries send him out to pasture. And in the meantime, we’ll see the Mannings, Brady, and Roethlisburger all walk off with additional rings.

But that’s the stupidity of Dan Snyder.

PetecminMd on January 7, 2013 at 5:16 PM

All NFL players know that any given play could be their last. So that’s the way they play the game. As fans, whether we realize it or not, that’s what we expect. When there are no longer players willing to put their entire career on the line for one single stupid game, football will be just another sport instead of an obsession for millions.

mike_NC9 on January 7, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Hmmm…I guess you can’t walk on water with a bum knee.

Galtian on January 7, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Blah blah blah … rg3 … Blah blah blah. RG3 is a good player, but he is not the best rookie QB in the NFL this year! Wilson proved that the title is his yesterday as he sprinted to get in front of and block for his ball carriers as they headed down the field. The east coast bias of the sports media is worse than the liberal bias of the news media.

If RGIII had been healthy or even 90% as he was in the first quarter when he ran roughshod over the over hyped Seattle defense, the Redskins would have won by at least 2 touchdowns. Wilson isn’t even as good as Luck who is not as good as RGIII. You Seattle pot smokers are delusional and the Seahawks are the dirtiest team I have seen in years. The late hit on Griffin in the first quarter should have gotten the Seahawk player thrown out of the game. Seattle won this game by default. You are just upset because everyone knows it. BTW, Sherman and Browner are a disgrace. I wish Williams had decked Sherman instead of just slapping him.

fight like a girl on January 7, 2013 at 7:15 PM

The story isn’t complete yet. Based on the way his leg collapsed on his last play, he’s going to have a permanent chink in his armor. He’s young and has the healing ability of a young man, but re-agravating an injury repeatedly is an absolute recipe for making certain it will never be 100% again. Old football injury anyone?

What a shame, for a guy with his talent and potential, particularly since those legs are [were] the real threat and the bonus that he brings to the table. He’s hardly the leagues best passer, he’s a fantastic athlete.

I also enjoy horse racing, and I can tell you that in stakes racing, if a trainer runs a horse that’s anything less than 100% sound and it comes up lame after the race, owners quickly have no use for the trainer, and their career just goes away. You don’t entrust a valueable race horse to someone who loses sight of the big picture, no single race is worth it.

Could be wrong, but I’m thinking that the defense is going to find it somewhat easier to contain him next year.

HoosierHawk on January 7, 2013 at 8:17 PM

If RGIII had been healthy or even 90% as he was in the first quarter when he ran roughshod over the over hyped Seattle defense, the Redskins would have won by at least 2 touchdowns. Wilson isn’t even as good as Luck who is not as good as RGIII. You Seattle pot smokers are delusional and the Seahawks are the dirtiest team I have seen in years. The late hit on Griffin in the first quarter should have gotten the Seahawk player thrown out of the game. Seattle won this game by default. You are just upset because everyone knows it. BTW, Sherman and Browner are a disgrace. I wish Williams had decked Sherman instead of just slapping him.

fight like a girl on January 7, 2013 at 7:15 PM

I believe the Skins would have won if RG3 hadn’t gotten hurt.

The interesting part of your post is the part about the Seahawks being dirty. Without a doubt that’s true. Like I said earlier in this thread I’m a Seahawk season ticket holder so I’ve attended a few games this year and watched the rest. They’re constantly CONSTANTLY getting into fights, getting personal fouls etc. It’s no doubt given them a reputation and I think that rep actually cost them a game this season. Earl Thomas (not one of the thugs) got a really bad roughing the passer call vs Miami that negated an interception and the drive ended in a TD. Miami won on a last second field goal. The other safety Kam Chancellor is a bit of a headhunter, but the king jackasses are Sherman and their right guard Breno Giacomini. It was somewhat cool at first because for a few years Seattle stressed really high character guys. When Carroll got hired that went out the window and there was a noticeable increase in the amount of fights during their games. The guy who shoved RG3 down was Bruce Irvin. Seattle got criticized for drafting him #15 due to his past character issues.

I saw their sack leader DE Chris Clemons tore his ACL. I don’t root for people to get hurt but the way Seattle cheapshots they sorta had it coming. I always liked watching Clemons play so that’s too bad for him.

hump1201 on January 7, 2013 at 8:32 PM

hump1201 on January 7, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Yes, the Seahawks have gotten dirtier under Carroll and it is a shame. I remember the days of Zorn and Largent when the Seahawks were known for their character. Now they are the “dirty birds” of the NFL.
I hope next week that they get their wings clipped by those other birds of the South.

fight like a girl on January 7, 2013 at 9:34 PM

“Every year is not promised & neither is every month, week, day, hour, minute, or second..
So make the most of every one of them!”

“If you built a house with your work ethic, dedication & preparation, would you trust its foundation enough to live in it?”

“I thank God for perspective and because of that I appreciate the support from everyone. I also appreciate the criticism.”

“When adversity strikes you respond in one of two ways….You step aside and give in..Or you step up and fight.”

These are recent RGIII fb posts. Maybe some of the haters will see why so many of us appreciate this young man. It’s called character.

fight like a girl on January 7, 2013 at 9:59 PM