There is nothing surprising about the conclusion of Robert Griffin III’s Thursday evening. As the starting quarterback of the Washington Redskins lay in a concussed heap upon FedEx Field, you could feel the collective grimace of the fans who witnessed the hit live, the despair of those watching on television, and the hindsight of those on social media. Griffin getting violently hit in the backfield is nothing new to anyone in Washington. It’s been a staple in D.C. for four years. Griffin drops back to pass, his first option is gone, he scrambles, he gets hit, and you wait 2-8 seconds to see if he will get up.
Last night, he didn’t.
The question this morning is what was coach Jay Gruden thinking leaving Griffin in? Griffin dropped back eight times, hit six times, and sacked three times. How could Gruden not see it coming?
It’s a valid question, sure. But the fact of it is, whether Gruden kept his quarterback in or not, Griffin’s fate was inevitable. It might not have happened in a preseason game against the Lions. Instead, it could have been Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins and Ndamukong Suh, or Week 2 against the Rams, the beneficiaries of the three Redskins’ first round draft picks it took to bring Griffin to Washington.
Griffin was going to go down, it was just a matter of when.
There isn’t one singular cause for the pain of Griffin’s NFL career. Rather, it’s been a series of unfortunate, incompetent, and unlucky events that have lent themselves to his plight. There is his size and struggle to pass in the pocket. There is the Redskins offensive line, or lack thereof, which outside of Trent Williams has been virtually nonexistent these past four years. There is the coaching. First, Mike Shanahan and then Jay Gruden, who both at different times threw their quarterback under the bus to save themselves. At times, Griffin has been his own worst enemy. Like in the days leading up to Thursday’s game when Griffin proclaimed himself the best quarterback in the league.
When you start to add it all up, you realize it’s all bad because it never got the chance to be good. The truth is, Griffin didn’t go down Thursday night. He went down during Week 9 of 2012 and never got back up.