The traits that won Robert Griffin III the Heisman Trophy during his Junior year at Baylor were the same ones that led the Redskins to trade up in the 2012 draft to number two overall and select the dynamic signal caller. A rocket arm, capable of throwing a football 80 yards in the air, elite speed which has seen him timed sub 4.4 in the 40, and powerful legs that helped him soar to a 40" vertical jump. Not only was Griffin's body a finely tuned machine, but his mind was just as sharp. He graduated number seven in his high school class, and graduated from college in just three years with a degree in Political Science.
These traits were on display for the entire league to see during Griffins record-breaking rookie season, which saw him pass for 3200 yards with a completion percentage of 65.6%, 20 touchdowns versus just 5 interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 102.4. These stats are very good, but when you factor in what Griffin did with his legs, that's when you are talking about the stuff legends are made of. In 2012, Griffin added 815 rushing yards on just 120 attempts, and accounted for an additional seven touchdowns. His 6.8 yard average was tops in the league for any player with over 100 attempts, and his longest run of 76 yards was bested by only Justin Forsett, Jamaal Charles and Chris Johnson.
Most football fans know the legend that is Robert Griffin III - son of two military parents who played his high school football in Texas, where he was also the National Track Athlete of the year in 2007, was recruited by major college football programs across the country, and chose to pledge to the man whom he developed the greatest relationship with.....Art Briles. Griffin credits Briles with molding him into the person and athlete he is today. It was Briles who noticed something special in the young signal caller, and tailored an offense designed to maximize his quarterbacks greatest assets.
It was Griffin's exceptional athletic ability that saw him throw for 10,366 career yards and 78 touchdowns, and run for 2254 career yards and 33 touchdowns at Baylor. It was Griffin's accuracy that saw him complete over 67% of his college attempts and throw just 17 career interceptions. It was an exceptional ability to recover from injury that saw Griffin rush for 635 yards and 8 touchdowns just one season after tearing his ACL. Two years after surgery, Griffin ran 4.41 at the NFL Scouting Combine, and posted a 39" vertical jump and 120" broad jump.
Yes, this is quite the exceptional athlete we are dealing with here.
Art Briles knew how to maximize Robert Griffin's skills. Mike Shanahan seemed to know how to maximize Robert Griffin's skills. The Redskins desire to protect their greatest investment in team history is what has slowly led to his regression as an NFL quarterback.
Let Robert run!
Griffin shouldn't be caged up like some wild animal. He shouldn't be put on a leash and restrained from doing what comes natural to him. He needs to be set free to do what he does best - use his legs to make plays. He just needs to be smart about how he does this, like getting out of bounds instead to trying to take on two defenders for extra yards while helicoptering through the air. He needs to slide when it's time to slide. He needs to throw the ball away when there is not a play to be made......but damn it, don't take the athlete out of the player! Let Robert run!
Jay Gruden needs to realize he has one of the most special athletes in the NFL, and stop trying to turn him into something he's not. The Redskins franchise needs to be mindful of injury, but also realize why they drafted the player they did. And Griffin needs to relegate himself to the true athlete he is. He's not a traditional pocket passer. He's not a triple option threat. What he is, is an exceptional athlete playing the quarterback position - one with a rocket arm, explosive speed, natural fluid movement skills, a solid head on his shoulders, accuracy, leadership skills, and subtle intangibles that can make him great.
The time is over to baby our investment. The classic drop-back passer that Griffin is attempting to become is a waste of time and resources. No one in this league should play not to get injured, and I feel that's what the coaching staff is forcing Griffin to do. I say let Robert be the quarterback we drafted him to be. Let Robert run!