We know he gives the impression of being pretty pleased with himself, and why shouldn’t he be? He comes on like a man of the world who knows what he’s in for, who joins the Redskins with a sense of the bull’s-eye on his back.
“If we’re successful in Washington, it’s not just me,” Griffin said on draft night. “If we’re not successful in Washington, it is just me.”
But we also know RGIII can’t fully understand the volatile condition of Redskins fans, their wan and haggard state after watching just two winning seasons in the past 10 years, and a bum-of-the-month club under center. On the night of the draft, Andy Curley paused on the art deco staircase of Radio City Music Hall wearing a replica Redskins jersey.
There were a lot of outrageous fan getups in the auditorium that night: a Broncos fan wearing a rocking horse on his head, a character in a red hood with a drifting red cape who called himself Buffalo Bills Superfan. But Curley’s outfit was a foot-traffic stopper because, unlike everybody else’s, his wasn’t a tribute to his hometown team; it was an expression of rotten-vegetable discontent. Stitched on the back of his jersey was the name McNabb, followed by a list of other names lettered in masking type. “Grossman, J Beck, J Campbell, M Brunell, T Collins, P Ramsey, D Wuerffel.”
“This is what I grew up with,” he said. “This is my nightmare, right here.
“All the other fans pick on me. Every Sunday I have to hide. They all tell me: ‘The Redskins don’t do anything from September to January. Their real season is from January to September.’ ”
Atop all the names he had stenciled, “RGIII?”
Note the question mark.
We know that RGIII won a Heisman Trophy — and we know that means exactly nothing because so did Chris Weinke, Matt Leinart, Jason White, Eric Crouch, Carson Palmer and Troy Smith. We know from highlights that he has an electric arm and can throw the ball deep with a flicky, wristy ease, but we also know he has never run a pro-style offense. We know that it’s one thing to handle pressure in Waco, Tex., another in the nation’s capital with fickle and easily disenchanted owner Daniel Snyder “relying” on you, while eyeing Kirk Cousins’s name on the roster.