Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen knew there would be a risk-reward situation when they decided to draft quarterback Robert Griffin III in 2012. The risk was the Redskins having to sacrifice future draft picks for the chance to trade up in the 2012 NFL Draft to select Griffin III. The reward was Griffin III becoming RG3, the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, who led Washington to its first NFC East title since 1999.
What a difference a year makes. Ever since RG3 suffered a torn right ACL last season, he and Shanahan have been put under the proverbial microscope. Shanahan was criticized during the Redskins’ 2012 Wild Card loss to the Seattle Seahawks for rushing RG3 back to action. Shanahan sat RG3 during the 2013 NFL preseason in an effort to get him ready for the regular season. It seemed like the right move, considering that sitting the Redskins’ most valuable commodity would protect RG3 from further injury.
Unfortunately, Washington has gotten off to a slow start, losing their first two games of the 2013 season. RG3 hasn’t looked sharp, throwing off target passes to his receivers. In addition, the Redskins have inexplicably gotten away from the zone read offense that made them one of the most potent offenses in the NFL. Maybe Shanahan is concerned that RG3 isn’t physically or mentally ready to run the zone read at this point.
This isn’t how things were supposed to go for the Redskins and their fans. With all the hype surrounding RG3 and his quest to return to action, great things were expected from this once lackluster franchise. Instead, the Redskins have set an alarming trend while losing their first two games: The offense gets off to a slow start, while the defense can’t stop anyone. Washington has been outscored by a combined score of 50-7 in the first half of both games, with the Redskins’ only points coming from a defensive touchdown. With that kind of first half offensive output, it’s no wonder they’re 0-2.
Shanahan is in a no win situation. Playing RG3 in the preseason might have put him at risk to injury again, but resting RG3 has made him rusty, not looking like the dynamic player from last season. There’s been some talk that RG3 should be benched in favor of reserve Kirk Cousins. Shanahan stated that inserting Cousins is not an option. Redskins’ fans hope that RG3 and the Redskins can snap out of their early season funk and start winning some games. A victory over the Detroit Lions Week 3 would go a long way towards righting the ship.