“Was RGIII rusty on Monday night?” has quickly replaced “Should RGIII play in the preseason?”, “Does RGIII hate Mike Shanahan?”, “Is RGIII overexposed?”, “Should RGIII run less?”, “Did Mike Shanahan ruin RGIII?”, “Should RGIII return his wedding gifts?”, “Should RGIII talk to Donovan McNabb?” and “What is RGIII’s favorite color of Gatorade?” as the question of the moment.
The first person to ask it of Griffin was Mark Maske, near the beginning of the quarterback’s postgame remarks on Monday. Maske pointed out what everyone with eyes had just noticed: that for two or three quarters, the 2012 offensive rookie of the year hadn’t looked like himself.
“How much of that, in your mind, was just the rust of not playing in games in the preseason?” Mask asked.
“I think that’s an excuse,” Griffin answered. “I’m responsible for the way I play, and I didn’t play very well in the first half. So it’s just the way it is. You move on from it. I’m not gonna sit here and say I was rusty. You know, I’ve got to be accountable. And I’m gonna be accountable for that. I didn’t play well in the first half.”
But if he wasn’t going to say he was rusty, others would.
Warren Sapp on NFL Network: “We were expecting him to play great tonight. He’s played great ever since he’s been in this league. He shocked us last year with everything he did, and we expected him to give us the performance like Adrian Peterson did: come out, hit the ground running and go. But he plays the most demanding position on the football field, and he hasn’t done in it a very long time. So with that being said, he was rusty tonight….All night long he hasn’t stepped and driven the ball. And whenever you’re playing quarterback, you throw the ball with your legs, no doubt about it….We saw him struggle all night long to step and throw the ball. And some wide open receivers, he just flat-out missed them.”
Cary Williams to CSN Washington: “I think he’s rusty just a little bit, honestly….I know he’s not up to form yet….Next time we play him we expect a lot better, more smoother, polished guy.”
Cris Carter on ESPN Radio: “You cannot simulate the traffic around his legs. I think it’s a lot harder for him to come back than Adrian Peterson, because as a running back, you can kind of predict where people are going to be. As a quarterback, when you drop back, you don’t know where guys are going to be. And that leg, eight months from surgery? It’s eight months. I don’t care what type of athlete he is, that ligament has only had eight months to recover, so it’s going to take some time. And I just believe playing quarterback with a knee injury like that is a little bit different than what Adrian did last year. I don’t think he’s going to get back running the read option like last year at all this year. I mean, it’s unbelievable what he did last year. Now he’s going to have to sit in the pocket.”
Shawn Springs on 106.7 The Fan: “I don’t think he should have played this game, With a backup like Cousins, I honestly think that Robert Griffin probably should have came back probably after the bye week. There was no need to rush the guy. They started off [3-6] last year and they ran off seven straight games, so you obviously know when he’s healthy, he’s dangerous. I don’t know if he was all the way back. I would like to see him, if he did play this game, maybe [have] Kirk Cousins start the game and give [Griffin] a couple series; each game give him more and more series and just bring him back [slowly].”