Sure, the love affair is still alive. No one has any reason to doubt the marriage will anything but beautiful. However, make no mistake: the honeymoon is clearly over.
Of course, I speak of Washington Redskins fans and their relationship with quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Griffin, the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the year, and No. 2 overall draft pick that same year, took the league and D.C. by storm last year with his effervescent personality and dynamic play behind center. The Heisman Trophy winning star from Baylor combined a unique run/pass threat, and seemed to enjoy every minute of his magical rookie season. That was of course, until the playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
We all know what happened that day. Griffin stayed in the game on an injured knee before suffering two torn knee ligaments late in the team’s loss. The injury handling of Griffin by head coach Mike Shanahan and rehabilitation of said knee have been the dominant stories surrounding the Redskins this offseason.
With Training Camp having begun, and Griffin on a set schedule, speculation has only intensified. Shanahan has been taking the proceed-with-caution approach, while Griffin has clamored for more work.
And from a certain perspective, I suppose Griffin’s desire to play and work with his teammates is admirable. He has been cleared to resume normal football activities, and has participated in limited drills. Nonetheless, the Burgundy and Gold faithful are getting a little sick of Griffin’s charade.
See, it seems Griffin has yet to learn that his playing injured last year versus Seattle is what caused the injury in the first place. Yes, Shanahan was justly criticized for keeping him in and has the ultimate decision. Still, it seems Shanahan has learned that caution is the better part of valor. After all, more than a month remains before the season opener and allowing Griffin’s knee more time to heal makes sense to most everyone.
That is, of course, everyone except RG III.
No, Griffin continues to clamor. He continues to make it clear that he will listen to Shanahan, but is always sure to add he does not like what his coach is doing. Last evening, during the team’s 22-21 preseason victory against the Tennessee Titans, Griffin dressed in full uniform, and seemed somewhat in seek of attention.
While there is nothing wrong with that per se, Griffin has shown himself to be somewhat out of touch with the pulse of Redskins fans.
After the debacle that was the Seattle game, Redskins fans have taken the long view. They know Griffin’s value to the franchise, and have no real desire to see or hear from him until the opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.
And the sooner Griffin realizes that, the better.