“Even if they have to cart me off the field, I’m going to get up off that cart and walk away.”
Even if they have to cart me off the field . . .
Think about that. The fortitude in those words is so raw, authentic, flat-out commendable.
And crazy. Doesn’t it sound frighteningly like a premonition?
When the Redskins’ most important player is talking like a special-teamer, blowing smoke through his nostrils before kickoff, it’s time for Coach Mike Shanahan to have a conversation with the kid about courage and intelligence — and how the two don’t always mix.
The quarterback is not supposed to be the toughest guy on an NFL roster; he’s supposed to be the best, the brightest — heck, the healthiest.
That’s impossible when Griffin is on the ground more than the people paid to keep him upright: his linemen and his coaches. Through the first three weeks, Griffin has eight more carries than Cam Newton and 11 more than Michael Vick. After absorbing 23 hits and nine sacks since Week 1 — the Bengals crunched him 13 times and sacked him six times — Griffin is becoming the kid who takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
If this continues, the new face of the franchise is going just two places: the hospital and the injured reserve list, in that order.
That’s a serious concern — because the rest of the roster has 2-14 written all over it.
“I think we had 20 designed runs, relative to the option, over the first couple of games and I think he was contacted four times,” Shanahan said after Griffin rushed for seven more yards than running back Alfred Morris on Sunday. “Even though it’s a designed run, he doesn’t always get contacted.”
Contacted. The coaching staff looks at four hits as negligible when the quarterback runs the ball. I look at it as a 20 percent greater risk of Griffin being disemboweled by a fast and agile 350-pound man paid to inflict pain.
The more the sideline calls for Griffin to run, the more it’s open season on the franchise’s last best chance to shake the doldrums of the past two decades. As my friend Kevin, whose family has had Redskins tickets for three generations, said, speaking of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, “He’s gonna get RGIII killed if he keeps calling so many option plays.”
Kyle deserves praise for some of the play-calling, especially the quick-hitting screens and slow-developing slants. But the failure to use Morris in the second half Sunday deserves scrutiny, mostly because the alternative was Griffin and a triple option with Brandon Banks.