This is pretty simple folks.
To begin, let’s presume everyone agrees the Washington Redskins most important player entering 2013 is quarterback Robert Griffin III. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft had a sensational rookie season for the NFC East Champions.
Of course, Griffin tore two knee ligaments in the team’s playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, as he controversially remained in the game while clearly laboring on his knee. The injury and the controversy surrounding it have been the focus of much attention during the offseason. Also, Griffin’s timetable to return is still not certain. Still, we do know he will return at some point, and his performance will be a determining factor in the Redskins’ success.
But Griffin’s return is merely part of the equation.
See, in analyzing Griffin’s performance (and the team’s for that matter), there is a recurring theme: Griffin played his best football last season when wide receiver Pierre Garcon was in the lineup.
Last week, I wrote an article saying that Garcon was the team’s second most important player behind Griffin, something supported statistiscally. In fact, the team was 9-1 last season in games Garcon played, 1-5 in games he did not. But it seems Garcon’s presence goes even further that, particularly with regard to Griffin.
After all, in the three games, in which Griffin surpassed the 300-yard passing mark, Garcon was in the lineup. In the 10 games Garcon played, Griffin was sacked 14 times. He was sacked 16 times in the games, Garcon sat out.
To be clear, I’m not coronating Garcon a bona-fide No. 1 receiver. In five NFL seasons, he has never reached 1,000 yards receiving, and six touchdowns is a career high. In short, Garcon is not going to win you fantasy titles.
But he is the closest thing the Redskins have to a guy who can stretch the field. And the numbers support the fact that he is incredibly valuable to Griffin.
So, in closing, the Washington Redskins most important player is Griffin, and likely will be for the next decade. But it seems the dynamic young quarterback is clearly at his best when he has Garcon to help.