In this article you won’t find stats. You’re not going to find blitz packages or blocking schemes. And you won’t read about what kind of plays this Armchair GM thinks the Redskins should run on Sunday.
This is going to be a fan’s request of Robert Griffin III. I hope all of you that read this find a way to share it, and hopefully it travels through time, space, and the interwebz to find it’s way into Robert’s hands. It’s through the medium of this website that I will try and convey what all of us are looking for, asking for, and need of Robert.
Mr. Griffin, Sir Robert, Bob, RGIII,
On behalf of Redskins Nation, I would like to make a request:
This isn’t going to come in one question, or in simplistic language. I may bounce around, in what seems to be a belligerent mess of scrambled words. I may end up coming off as pompous, or too forward, or maybe too sentimental for the universal ‘Man’ standard. You might even shrug it off. This won’t be short, and I hope you take the time to read it.
I’ll first begin with a story: The Fan
I was born into a generation of Redskins fans that, in short, have been deprived of success.
There’s a generation out there, born in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s, that have yet to see a real playoff run. We were babies when the Replacements, or scabs, placed the Redskins in prime position for a Super-Bowl victory back in ’87. We were children when Doug Williams changed history, being the first black Quarterback to play in and win the big game.
Season after season, Sunday after Sunday, hour after hour we have watched as our team fell to shortcomings that include more than one facet of fault. We’ve watched as ownership took the team on a New York Yankees-esque binge of talent that had either run its course, or been ill-suited to fulfill the needs of the scheme into which they were thrown.
We watched as the brightest of lights coming from the biggest schools around the NCAA were signed, then busted as if they were gunpowder flashing in a frying pan. Fizzle.
Redskins fan’s have been berated, ridiculed, and hated on from all angles of the NFL. ‘Deadskins’ and ‘Foreskins’ have become daily auditory nuances that we have become uncomfortably used to.
Last season we watched as a former Heisman Trophy winner was signed to an ailing team, and did things in his rookie season that nobody had ever seen before. We envied the drive, and motivation the young Cam Newton exhibited. We wondered, ‘What if?’. What if we had a quarterback that had the poise, talent, and buzz to lead a team. Then we took it further. What if we had the whole package?
What if we had a quarterback that could pick up and stretch a play with his legs? What if we had a quarterback that would take credit for the failures of all, and give credit away for his own successes? What if we had a quarterback that could induce both a heart-attack, and joy in the same play? (Ahem, fourth-quarter scramble pass to Logan Paulsen)
Enter, 2012. Again, we watched. We watched as another young, playmaking quarterback was signed. A former Heisman Trophy winner. A runner. A passer. A leader.
Immediately we felt as though this team was moving towards a light, instead of further and further into a black abyss. And you hadn’t even payed a snap. We were desperate for a winner, a leader. We got it.
You’ve proven your worth thus far, and then some. You’re ‘As advertised’ as you like to say.
People gaffed when the Redskins announced their ‘Price’ for moving to the second pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. People also gaffed when the New York Giants made similar moves for the younger brother of one of the greatest quarterbacks of our generation. Can anybody that doesn’t talk about it for a living even remember what that price was? Does it matter? Was it worth it for New York?
On to the point: The Request
You’ve been given the keys to not only 10 other athletes on the field, not only 53 athletes on a team, but to a city’s heart. You’ve reinvigorated a broken fanship, one that had all-but-given up on hopes of a playoff run before the second-coming. You have exhibited leadership, poise, humility, and maturity beyond your years.
All of this is more than we could ever ask for, but there’s one thing that we still need to ask of you. Adapt.
That Heisman Trophy winner from last season, the one that set rookie records and had the chance to not only succeed, but change the game, has fizzled.
Disclaimer: I am in no way ‘knocking’ Cam Newton. I’m only stating an observation.
There will come a time that you aren’t faring so well with the media. You may throw three interceptions one night, against a lack-luster defense that hasn’t compiled a turnover in 5 games. The media will prod, and poke for anything that resembles a story. (For those that are part of the media reading this, you’re probably shaking your head ‘no’. Don’t. The secret is out). The world will be in your face, because you’re the face of a franchise. You’ve been given the keys. You’ve been given the reigns. That’s the situation that we will need you to adapt to and overcome. You’ll experience pressure that you never have before. It’s how you handle that pressure that you will be remembered.
All signs point north, but sometimes a compass can be misleading. Interferences like success, failure, ego, and confidence can drive one’s compass in the wrong direction. You’ve even said it recently: (Paraphrasing) Don’t get over-excited, don’t mope. Stay neutral.
Stick to that mindset. Remember that your every move is being watched. You are both an athlete, AND role model.
In a nutshell, we need you to retain the attitude that you’ve graced us with so far. The can-do, happy-go-lucky, humble leader. ‘The General on the Field’ as my high-school coach used to say.
Take the heat.
If your center happens to miss a protection package, or your guard misses a blitz. Take that. Eat it up. ‘It’s something that I should have recognized and audibled out of, we’ll be working on that this week’. If your wideout zig’s when he should have zagged. ‘We’re going to get together and work on our timing’.
Sure, missed opportunities and failed plays make a GREAT story. But who cares? Those are YOUR guys out there. You’re the General. The General takes the heat.
Take the lead, Robert. Adapt to your surroundings and identify the changes that are taking place around you. Remember that you’re not just here to play football. You’re here to lead. If you aren’t up to the challenge, you should’ve picked a different position. Enjoy the ride. But guide the coaster. Lead them, and we’ll follow. That is our request.
I’d like to end this with a quote:
"The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office." – Dwight D. Eisenhower