Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Robert Griffin III: Hero or Scapegoat?

Before he ever takes a snap from center Robert Griffin III is in a no win situation. In order to obtain the draft rights for the Heisman Trophy winner the Washington Redskins gave up two first rounders and second round pick. That's a hefty price to pay and with that investment comes great expectation. If RGIII doesn't hit the ground running Cam Newton style the pressure will begin to mount.

Not only will the pressure begin to mount based on his performance there will be comparisons made to the consensus #1 pick Andrew Luck. Luck is considered the most NFL ready QB prospect since John Elway and the standard by which all other quarterbacks will be judged. Griffin will be asked to match if not surpass Luck's production because the Redskins basically mortgaged the future to acquire him. Not his fault, but his burden nonetheless.

Then there's Mike Shanahan. The Redskins head coach has a history of being overly stubborn and inflexible when it comes to his offensive philosophy. Several quarterbacks (most notably Jason Campbell and Donovan McNabb) have expressed frustration with Shanahan's approach to the position and his demeanor in the locker room. A free spirit and a born leader like Griffin will struggle to flourish in that environment.

The good news is Washington D.C. will embrace him like a prodigal son. they will stand behind him and give him every opportunity to succeed. the Redskins have never had a player that generated this much excitement and enthusiasm. The bad news is the fish bowl effect combined with over analysis will probably take its toll on him. When the President has you on speed dial and mentions you in his speeches you know there's little margin for error. If it works out for the best Robert Griffin III will be considered a hero and a prophet. If things don't go according to plan Griffin will be a scapegoat and a candidate for the all overrated team. Let's hope it's not the latter.

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