Here are NFL quarterbacks, ranked by rushing attempts, through Sunday’s games.
1. Robert Griffin III, 32
2. Cam Newton, 24
3. Michael Vick, 21
4. Alex Smith, 13
5t. Ryan Fitzpatrick, 12
5t. Russell Wilson, 12
Now, Wilson still plays on Monday night, so his tally will go up. Still, RGIII has 33 percent more carries than any other quarterback in the league. And he has 146 percent more carries than every NFL quarterback not named Newton or Vick. And on many of those running plays, he’s been slammed to the ground.
Is this sustainable? Guess we’ll find out. But plenty of people are getting extremely worried. Some examples.
Brian Mitchell, on the Official Redskins Postgame Show on ESPN 980:
“Just because a guy’s athletic doesn’t mean he has to run all the time. And I think when you look at it like that, it comes down to the laziness of a coach. The guy is a better passer than he is a runner, okay? And I know Robert is gonna do everything you ask him to do to help a team win, but you have to eliminate the risk of him getting hurt. And yes, he’s going to run the ball sometimes, he’s going to take some opportunities. But if he’s going to run the ball when he needs to, and you’re going to add another 10 to 15 planned runs, you’re asking for something to go wrong.
“He CANNOT take that many hits. And I’m not talking from a guy who’s just trying to be a jabberjaw. I ran the option. I ran 700 plays when I was in college. And in the NFL, you have much better athletes: stronger, bigger. And if he keeps getting hit, you’re not going to have that quarterback for a long time. I did it for four years, and believe me, my body got beat up.
“You’re not going to have a guy for 10 to 15 years if he keeps running the option, and then all these other plays that they have for him. It’s great to have that as an extra tool, but it should not be your main thing. It should be like the joker. If you’ve got Spades, you’ve got Hearts or Diamonds, you go out and do it, but when you have a joker that’s something special. Him running the ball should be something special, and not the thing that you do all the time.”
Michael Wilbon, on Tony Kornheiser’s ESPN 980 show:
“They’ve got to stop getting RGIII hit. The option? What, are we watching Navy football, with Junior doing the color on this? I mean, stop it. Look, RGIII looks like a basketball player when you stand next to him. He doesn’t look like a behemoth; he’s not the size of John Elway and Ben Roethlisberger. He’s not that size, and they’ve got him taking these shots, running the triple option? Are you KIDDING me?....
“I watch enough to know he’s getting hit too much. And I don’t know what they’re going to do....What does RGIII weigh, 205? 210? We’re talking about guys who are 40 pounds lighter, two and three inches smaller [than Cam Newton]. You can’t have this.”
David Aldridge, on Tony Kornheiser’s ESPN 980 show:
“I’m upset, because you’re going to get your quarterback killed. And I don’t know, there was a guy in the backfield getting four-and-a-half yards a carry. You might want to give him the ball 30 times, see what happens. But that’s me. “
Steve Czaban, on his blog:
“Mike Shanahan clearly doesn’t give two [bleeps] about possibly totalling his brand new Ferrari of a QB in Robert Griffin III. He’s worse than Lindsay Lohan....What’s going on in Shanny’s mind here? Is he more pressed to win right now than we think? Is it ego? Or is there real job pressure? He seriously doesn’t seem to give a [bleep] that Griffin is getting hammered....
“Shanny is running Griffin into the ground. And we are THREE games into his career. It’s nuts. You want to run some of this stuff in goal-to-go situations, or 4th and short? Fine. In fact, perfect. You can’t run it exclusively for two straight drives, like the Skins did [Sunday].
“Well, I mean, you CAN do that. But it’s stupid. This is not an offense you can win with in December and January. The thought of zone-reading Griffin left and right in an NFC championship game at a rock-hard Meadowlands after 17 or 18 games in a season is laughable....
“So in other words, we are working on installing and running an offense, that you simply can’t win with. And it’s going to kill our star QB, a guy the same geniuses surrendered four draft picks to get.”