When NFL players say they need their 23-year-old quarterback to be harder on them in practice, they offer insight into a team with bigger problems than the quarterback’s knee.
That is what Washington Redskins quarterback and offensive captain Robert Griffin III said some of his offensive teammates implored him to do after the Redskins’ humiliating loss in Green Bay on Sunday.
Professional athletes shouldn’t need such motivation. If they want reminders of their shortcomings, if they want someone to tell them to get the lead out, that’s why teams have coaches.
Their quarterback has enough problems of his own.
Now, let’s shift the focus from Griffin, something that’s hard to do when talking about the Redskins, to the defense.
Oh, the humanity.
The Green Bay Packers had 580 yards in offense against the Redskins. That is unheard of. That is a college number, the kind a strong FBS team puts up against a weak FCS team.
The Redskins are playing two rookies in the secondary, cornerback David Amerson and free safety Bacarri Rambo, and they aren’t ready for the NFL.
The Redskins run a 3-4 defense — three down linemen and four linebackers — and it’s not a good fit, even though the Redskins are in their fourth season of trying to find the right fit.
The Redskins have given up 1,023 yards in their first two games. No one wins in the NFL with defense that porous.
The solution is … well, that’s a tough one. Against Philadelphia, the answer was to have cornerback DeAngelo Hall pick up a fumble the Eagles thought was an incomplete pass and jog 75 yards for a touchdown.
That’s probably not a permanent solution.
The Redskins are who they are on defense. Their secondary is below average and their defensive line is unable to stop the run or generate pass-rush pressure.
If defensive coordinator Jim Haslett can fix it, he should be the NFL assistant coach of the year.
And that brings us back to Griffin, as every discussion involving the Redskins always does.
Should head coach Mike Shanahan replace Griffin with Kirk Cousins?
Griffin’s performance is essential to the Redskins’ success. He’s not playing well and he’s not going to improve by watching from the sidelines. That’s been tried already. In the preseason, remember?
Shanahan and the Redskins have too much invested in Griffin — money, pride, ego — to remove him from the lineup unless he’s seriously injured.
Griffin has a dynamic personality and an almost irresistible will. But he faces a stark reality he rarely has had to confront — he’s human.
Griffin is returning from surgery on a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. That’s usually a “two-year” injury.
The first year back, most players perform at the 75-80 percent level.
The second year back, the player is closer to 100 percent.
The good news is Griffin should be able to play in 2014 at or near the level he played in 2012, which was very well.
The bad news is 2013 is going to be rough.
As Wesley, aka Dread Pirate Roberts, said to Inigo Montoya in the movie “Princess Bride” — great movie, by the way; you might want to stream it during Redskins’ games — “Get used to disappointment.”
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