Mike Shanahan Says Injuries are Not Why Robert Griffin III Struggles

Courtesy of USA Today

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III had an excellent rookie season in 2012 that saw him pass for 3,200 yards with 27 total touchdowns compared to only five interceptions. Griffin also helped lead the Redskins to a 10-6 record and a rare playoff appearance.

Since then, RGIII’s struggles are well noted. In addition to struggling with some unfortunate injuries, the former Heisman winner just hasn’t performed up to expectations.

While some blame injuries for the quarterback’s struggles, former Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan isn’t buying into that theory:

“I don’t think getting hurt has anything to do with it,” Shanahan told WJFK in Washington on Friday. “I think what you do is you rehab yourself and you get better. You don’t have to have great running ability to run the read-option. You have to be able to know when to slide, when to throw the football away, depending on if you’re running or passing.”

There’s little doubt that these have been major issues for RGIII since his amazing performance as a rookie. However, it appears that Shanahan is still attempting to cast blame elsewhere. Instead of looking in the mirror and taking responsibility for some horrendous coaching decisions, including having RGIII play through an injured knee back in 2012, Shanahan refused to take responsibility for any of the struggles we have seen recently.

Shanahan’s commentary aside, Griffin’s 2013 and 2014 seasons were a hot mess when he was on the field. From terrible footwork to failing to read defenses to awkward slides, the 2012 version of Griffin got buried.

Shanahan did breathe a little life back into RGIII by commenting on some of his positive attributes while keeping his opinion real:

“Robert has a lot of ability. He’s a charismatic guy. He’s got mobility. He’s got arm strength. He’s a very bright guy. But he hasn’t done things that the NFL asks you to do, and it does take some growing pains to go through that.”

RGIII has clearly reached that proverbial fork in the road. While Washington did pick up his fifth-year option for the 2016 season, it appears that this year could be make-or-break campaign for the embattled signal caller.

By agreeing to pay RGIII $16.2 million in 2016, the Redskins have shown some faith in the embattled quarterback—faith that might not be warranted. Over the course of his past 20 starts, the fourth-year signal callers boasts a 5-15 record.

In addition to winning more on the field, RGIII simply needs to stay healthy. No matter what Shanahan says, injuries have played a major role here. And in reality, another one would prove to be more than detrimental to RGIII’s career at this point.

Photo: USA Today Sports