By Samuel O. Doku, Ph.D.
Since the owner of the Washington Redskins, Dan Snyder, acquired the franchise at the turn of the last decade, his primary concern, then, was to instantaneously turn the football club into an overnight success story.
In that wishful thought process, Snyder wanted to recapture the golden years of the Redskins under Vince Lombardi and Joe Gibbs. From that perspective, Snyder has provided lucrative packages to coaches, some of whom were convinced to come and translate their success at the college level into the NFL and some of whom were convinced to come out of retirement to come and repeat their success story at the apogee moments of their careers.
Still, some without any previous head coaching experience have been given the opportunity to see if they could succeed as head coaches. Sadly, none of the coaching moves Snyder made in the past worked and the current move, so far, hasn’t worked, and the current head coach seemingly is the culprit this time, not Snyder.
First of all, it surprises me that Gruden erroneously was of the mindset that he expected franchise quarterback, Robert Griffin, III, to do some magic and recapture his excellent form immediately after returning from his long, nagging knee injury.
The fact of the matter is that sports aficionados know that no matter how great and brilliant an athlete is, returning to an excellent playing form after a long injury takes time, and. And, Griffin was not an exception.
Yet, in preseason games, Gruden wanted Griffin to unfairly do that. Such was Gruden’s obsession, perhaps, to see Griffin fail that, in one of those unimportant exhibition games, Gruden unnecessarily left Griffin in a game that he wasn’t getting any protection from his offensive linemen. It was the same lack of protection that led to his knee injury in the first place against the Baltimore Ravens a few years back.
Sports prognosticators sang the praises of Tom Brady for his bravado after being hit five times and still being able to lead New England to victory against a Tony Romo-less Cowboys a couple of weeks back. But Brady was at the receiving end of hits in just one game. Griffin endured hits in almost every game he has played for the Redskins, yet in spite of that, he still continued to make big plays.
My point is that playing on a team, whose offensive linemen have perennially refused or lacked the ability and courage to protect their quarterback, it is inconceivable to blame an excellent quarterback like Griffin whose obsession for the game and for the Redskins is so profound that he is still able to make plays in spite of, wasn’t a wise move.
This article is not meant to question the quarterbacking quality of Kirk Cousins. Far from it. Rather it is meant to reiterate to Gruden that some quarterbacks are not meant to play the role of franchise players to carry teams on their shoulders to win championships, and Cousins falls into that unenviable category.
The responsibility of a carrying a team to championship glory falls on the shoulders of Griffin, and the longer Gruden delays the process of putting Griffin in charge, the longer the wait for the Redskins and Snyder to realize the dream of turning the Redskins into a championship caliber team.
I hope Gruden will listen to reason and do the right thing.