Morning Pixels: Does RGIII need more caution?

December 10, 2012

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

 

Writing this so soon after RGIII’s knee injury feels like bad form, an extremely minor version of politicizing tragedy. So I’m gonna try to tread lightly.

But facts are facts: Robert Griffin III — for whom the Redskins traded a nearly unprecedented haul of draft picks — has now been unable to finish two out of 13 games during his rookie season. In both cases, he was injured while scrambling. Neither hit was penalized.

Sure, Kirk Cousins did just swell Sunday against the Ravens, and the good guys won. But Washington did not give up all those picks for Griffin so that a fourth-rounder would be finishing games. And yes, RGIII seems to have avoided serious long-term absences both times. But if you’re comfortable rolling the dice on head injuries and knee sprains, you’re a braver sort than I.

Which is why I don’t think I read a more provocative column after this game than the one Steve Czaban posted on his Web site. Agree or disagree, it’s a strong argument, which Czaban has made repeatedly even before Sunday’s near-miss. Some excerpts:

RG3 needs to smarten up. Quick. And it would help if his coaches stopped enabling the ‘tough guy’ act….Either change his ways and change this scheme, or get all the good DVD highlights you can these next few years. It’s that simple….Downfield hits are like railroad collisions. You never win those….

These hits are like rolling snake-eyes in craps. Not a fluke. Just a matter of rolls. I already fear we have enjoyed the very sweetest nectar of the RG3 Era. That may sound stupid, and reactionary, and pessimistic, but hey, you know me, I’ll just say it if I feel it….There’s only ONE of him. And a LOT of games to be played, and won. Time to start doing the math on all that.

Fans and media members have gone back and forth on this issue for four months. But whatever you believe, this kid — who will likely never be healthier and more limber than he is right now — has already had to watch his backup finish two games, both times because he failed to avoid avoidable contact. To me, that has to change.

 

BECAUSE YOU DON’T READ THE PAPER

* Sheinin’s A1 piece on RGIII’s day: “He gave Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan a hug, appearing intensely emotional, on the verge of tears.”

* Maske on the playoff picture, which hardly changed.

* Kirk Cousins records his first win, will prepare for Cleveland as if he will be the starter.

* Boz seems less worried than Czabe: “The Redskins and their sublime rookie Robert Griffin III survived two of the more chilling escapes of any NFL season on Sunday at FedEx Field. The Redskins won a desperately needed game. RGIII still has II knees….The Redskins can smile, or in Griffin’s case, even risk a laugh.”

* The Wizards “now have the same record they had last season, when owner Ted Leonsis and team President Ernie Grunfeld determined that Flip Saunders needed to be dismissed after losing 15 of his first 17 games.”

 

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

RGIII’s dad, via text, to a reporter:

“Knee better than yours and mine.”

 

WHAT TO WATCH TODAY

Georgetown hosts Longwood at 7 on MASN. The Texans go to New England at 8:30 on ESPN, in a game with absolutely zero Redskins playoff implications. All TV/Radio listings are here.

 

TWEET OF THE DAY

Kids these days. Always wanting the pillow.

 

PHOTO OF THE DAY

Must have been a pretty good book. Via @thaislip.

 

PHOTO OF THE DAY, II

Never change, Ravens fans. And go, Fiacco. Via Reader Brendan.

 

HOMELAND AND THE WIZ

Did “Homeland” predict Washington’s amazing and absurd win against the Heat? A recent episode had the home team “up five against Miami, can you believe that?” Watch it at The PostGame.

 

‘ERNIE GRUNFELD HAS GOT TO GO’

This is a week old, but I’m just seeing it now. It’s on ESPN.com, from Basketball Prospectus’s Bradford Doolittle, and it’s unsparing: “If Leonsis has already decided that no postseason equals no Grunfeld — and we don’t know that to be true at this point — then there is no reason to wait….even if Leonsis has to wait to find a permanent replacement, it’s important that he move Grunfeld out before any more damage can be done.”

 

PEACE ON EARTH, IN MT. PLEASANT

My old ‘hood, with its annual plea for peace.

 

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Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · December 9, 2012