“People can’t say he can’t take a hit because he kept getting up even after we kept knocking him down hard. But the edge in this league isn’t the same as the edge in college. You can’t get outside like you do there. You have to use him like that because his legs are such a threat. You also got to be careful. But, you know, I’m not the coach.”
Shanahan admitted Sunday, “It’s not a perfect scenario for a young guy to be behind by that much and put him in that situation. But we were in that today.”
As much as the defense has let down the offense the first three weeks, Griffin also gets a small measure of blame. Between calling St. Louis “dirty” and being so determined to show his resilience, he has played into the Rugged Robert perception. The kid with all the TV commercials seems driven to show he has enough machismo to earn props from the game’s mayhem makers.
But when you stick your chin out to essentially say, “I can take your best shot,” that’s not physical courage; that’s borrowing trouble. That’s a rope-a-dope strategy that results in Parkinson’s before you’re 50.
You wonder if the military background that served Griffin so well growing up — the discipline and soldier-on mentality instilled by his parents, both retired Army sergeants — isn’t skewing him away from the correct priorities for an NFL quarterback.
Bottom line: The commanding officer can’t lead the charge in this league; he’s too valuable. That’s for the linemen and kickoff crazies who bump helmets for a living.
Tampa Bay, the Redskins’ next opponent, has mostly been in the news for one thing this season: new Coach Greg Schiano’s tough-guy approach, which includes attacking the other team’s quarterback even when in the victory formation at game’s end.
Rather than Griffin surviving another manly test of will and everyone treating his weekly battering like some warped gang initiation, what if just this week the offensive coaches and players actually protect their quarterback from going down instead of seeing how many times he can get back up?
After delivering seven of the hits and three of the sacks Griffin withstood Sunday, Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson finally reached down late in the fourth quarter and picked up the battered kid, primarily out of respect.
“We hit him so many times, but he kept getting back up; he’s so tough,” Johnson said. “He’s a true competitor. It is going to be fun watching him.”
Agreed — as long as by Week 16, Robert Griffin III isn’t in traction.
For Mike Wise’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/wise.