December 15, 2019

Time to find out if RGIII can be the Washington Redskins’ Superman

by Jack Anderson, Special to District Sports Page

It’s time.

Given his overwhelming potential and seemingly limitless ceiling, the moment is right for the Washington Redskins to take the plunge and bet the house on the man known as RGIII.

That’s only Robert Griffin’s weekday moniker though. On weekends, he’s Superman. Clark Kent jumped buildings in a single bound, but Griffin made the college gridiron his playground. Now he’s going pro and several teams are lined up ready and willing to pay a king’s ransom for the new Man of Steel in this year’s NFL draft.

There isn’t much Griffin can’t do. He is working on a Masters degree in communications, was a world-class track athlete in high school and is one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects. Yet his quiet pride and selfless nature overshadow all his accomplishments, resulting in one of the more balanced, grounded individuals you’ll ever encounter.

It just so happens that there’s more to this humble college kid than he’ll let on to.

Fittingly, Griffin wore a pair of Superman socks to the Heisman Trophy presentation. But instead of strutting onto the national stage in the presence of his fellow candidates, Griffin presented the outrageous footwear with a lightheartedness that only made him more likeable.

Of course he finished the night hardware in hand. “Unbelievably, believable,” he said of the honor.

Unbelievable – according to Griffin – because of the emotion that came with such a moment. Believable to the rest of us because he’s just that good.

It’s not easy to find such a combination of talent and squeaky-clean character, but Griffin has it all. In 2011, he completed over 72 percent of his passes and had a touchdown-interception ratio better than 6-to-1. He recently ran one of the fastest 40-times of any quarterback in history and appears poised to take the NFL by storm.

With the recognition also comes the scrutiny of endless meetings with NFL teams, media obligations, a strict workout routine and a continued sense of purpose. Many potential draftees undergo the firestorm of responsibility and how they handle it will help shape what they become.

There is little doubt Griffin will pass the gauntlet with flying colors. This is the same guy who could choose between heading to law school or quarterbacking a professional football team. Winners have that ability to turn any situation into a positive one. Griffin fits that mold and that’s why he’s already blowing the skeptics away with his top-notch attitude and off-the-chart talents.

Naturally the hype has several of the NFL’s bottom-feeders clamoring for his services. The Redskins, Browns, Dolphins and others would love to reverse the fortunes of their respective franchises with such a high-caliber player and it’s likely one of them will.

It all hinges around the St Louis Rams and the No. 2 overall selection in the NFL draft. The Rams are set at quarterback with former No. 1 selection Sam Bradford and are expected to trade their pick to the highest bidder. That team will surrender a treasure trove of assets, but in today’s NFL a franchise quarterback trumps most everything else.

Especially in Washington.

The “Redskin way” hasn’t been conducive to success in a long time. Then again it’s never really had an individual capable of putting the entire team on his back like Griffin is expected to do.

The Colts, Saints, Patriots and Packers can all attest to the importance of the quarterback position. Players have come and gone in each organization, but the same guys were under center when those teams combined for six of the last 11 Super Bowl trophies. Possessing that constant an entire locker room can depend on – you can’t put a price tag on it.

The Redskins don’t have that and haven’t for years. They’ve tried to be home run hitters and have only recently attempted to build a team piece by piece. But there isn’t always a gameplan for every scenario. Sometimes a player like Griffin comes along and forces you to call an audible.

Mike Shanahan has done a good job putting certain elements of into place, but the prevailing opinion is that he’ll never turn the Redskins around without acquiring a dynamic quarterback. Griffin is that guy, but the cost is likely to make Shanahan a little skittish.

And with good reason because Griffin can’t do it by himself. The Redskins will have to build around him, which could be difficult if they part ways with numerous draft picks to get him.

However, drafting Griffin presents one of those rare shortcuts the Redskins aren’t usually afforded. He’s pretty close to the can’t-miss label and there is nothing on his resume that would leave a team holding their breath.

Shanahan need only listen to Griffin’s Heisman speech for inspiration when it comes to rolling the dice. If there’s “no pressure,” there’s “no diamonds.” It’s a gamble, but one that could turn the tide for a team stuck in neutral.

The cost is high, the risk even higher, but the payoff promises to be worth it. It’s time to find out if Superman can withstand the Burgundy and Gold kryptonite.

Jack Anderson is a special contributor to District Sports Page. He has been covering Washington, DC sports as a credentialed reporter since 2009. He covers the Capitals for NHL Home Ice and TSN Radio and is a freelance writer having contributed to the Washington Times, Associated Press and NBC Washington. You can follow him on twitter @jackandersonIII.
About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

Comments

  1. “The Colts, Saints, Patriots and Packers can all attest to the importance of the quarterback position. Players have come and gone in each organization, but the same guys were under center when those teams combined for six of the last 11 Super Bowl trophies.”

    Add the Steelers and Giants to that list with Roethlisberger and Eli winning 2 each that comes to 10 of the last 11 with Tampa as the only outlier. Just further drives home your point: you need an elite QB to win Championships in today’s NFL.

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