Is the Sun Setting on Robert Griffin’s Career in Washington ?

For RG III, his run in Washington could be coming to an end.

For RG III, his run in Washington could be coming to an end.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. When the Washington Redskins traded up for Robert Griffin the Third in the 2012 draft, the once proud Washington franchise has their savior. For one season Griffin flashed a rocket arm and blistering speed propelling the Redskins into the playoffs. The Offensive rookie of the year looked poised to become a star in the NFL.

My how things have changed. Ever since leaving the field to an injury in the 2013 Wildcard game Griffin’s career has been marred by what could have been as the once promising star is facing the real possibility that his once promising career is going down in flames.

It’s been a plethora of issues of Griffin. From his health, relationship with the organization, and players raising major issues in Washington over the past few seasons the divorce between Griffin and Washington seems to be inevitable.

After suffering a concussion in the preseason game against the Detroit Lions, Robert Griffin’s health has become a major liability to an organization that has been buried in the NFC East by its more talented counterparts. With a lack of draft picks in recent years, thanks to the Griffin trade, the Redskins have a depleted roster and have constructed a poor offensive line that allowed Griffin to be beat up and eventually knocked out of the game against Detroit.

Griffin's latest injury coupled with one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL does not bode well for his 2015 campaign

Griffin’s latest injury coupled with one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL does not bode well for his 2015 campaign

At this point the best thing for both parties is to move on. Griffin has won only five games over the past two seasons for the Redskins, after winning nine his rookie year, and started only 20 games over the past two years. It’s just not working in D.C. and Washington has already fired on coach in Mike Shanahan during the Griffin regime and shouldn’t blow up the organization once again to try to make it “work” with RGIII.

Griffin hasn’t exactly made it easy for the Redskins. From spats with teammates to saying “I think I’m the best quarterback in the NFL” just days before the preseason game, Griffin has become a lightning rod and has made himself a bigger target. It’s one thing to be confident and make statements, but you have to back it up. So far, Griffin has not proven since his rookie season that he should be the quarterback and face of the Washington franchise. Not only has the off the field baggage hurt RG3’s chances in Washington, but more importunely his on the field play has.

Here’s the ugly truth, Griffin will probably never be the same player he was in his rookie season. His knee has already hindered his once great speed, and he’s already proven that he doesn’t have the body to survive being a running quarterback in this league. Coupled with bad throwing mechanics that Griffin has not refined it’s hard to imagine Griffin becoming an elite pocket passer.

Still the major problem with Griffin is health. Like Sam Bradford they have the talent to be great quarterbacks in the NFL, but not the durability. Part of being a successful player in the NFL is having the ability to stay on the field and protect your body. Griffin has not learned how to do that, and until he does it’s hard pressed to see him surviving through a sixteen game schedule.

Divorces are ugly and unless Griffin can drastically turn it around and stay healthy for the 2015 season, this will be his last year in the nation’s capital.

Advertisement

Quarterback Roulette: Where Will Top Prospects Land?

Jameis Winston: Round 1 Pick 1 winston-football-640

This pick has seemingly been locked for a long time. Winston has been the consensus top quarterback in the class and has been almost locked as the top pick for months. Barring some trade or a bold decision, it looks like Winston will be a Buccaneer. It makes too much sense. Tampa Bay has been desperate fort a franchise quarterback for years, Winston is from the Tampa area, the small market could help the media exposure around Winston, and Tampa has some great weapons on offense. With the state of the NFC South, it’s not that far-fetched that if Winston can play well from day one, the Buccaneers could compete for the division title.

Marcus Mariota: Round 1 Pick 2Unknown-1

The biggest question about this year’s draft will be where will Mariota go? Will he be drafted high or fall? Will a team trade up for him? Which team could trade for him? In this scenario I have Tennessee grabbing him here for one of two reasons. First, they need a franchise quarterback and Zach Mettenberger is probably not the answer. The other reason he could go here is that Tennessee could play the leverage game and try to trade him for more draft picks. Either way Mariota will probably be off the board sooner than later.

Bryce Petty: Round 1 Pick 19NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Baylor

Every year quarterbacks go earlier in the draft then projected. It is a quarterback driven lead after all and teams will be aggressive to get a quarterback before they come off the board. With two first round picks, the Browns have the luxury to use one of the picks on a quarterback while still getting a talented player with the other. I have Petty going with the later pick. Cleveland has made it clear that they are no longer sold on Manziel and Petty has the type of character make up a franchise would want at quarterback. Petty will need some time to sit and learn the playbook and with Josh McCown now on the Browns it has made it the perfect situation for Petty to sit and learn rather than playing right away. It also could give Cleveland the excuse to move on from Manziel.

Garrett Grayson: Round 2 Pick 6usatsi8192945

The Washington Redskins could be looking to move on from Robert Griffin III. However, they probably will not want to use a first round pick on a quarterback even if Mariota is available. In the second round Washington could take a shot on Garrett Grayson who has been battling Hundley and Petty to be the third quarterback off the board. Grayson has the size and enough arm talent to possibly be a future franchise quarterback in the NFL. While Griffin has more physical talent, the problems with his leadership and durability will have Washington looking for a possible replacement plan.

Brett Hundley: Round 2 Pick 23 UCLA UCLA (vs. Washington, Nov. 15)

Despite three different quarterbacks in 2014, the Arizona Cardinals were able to make the playoffs. However, with Carson Palmer’s health now a question mark the team needs a solid backup plan. Hundley could be the future starter in Arizona, and could be groomed in the meantime under Palmer. Arizona has the defense to be a contender but they will need a quarterback to get there. Hundley could be that option if Palmer is hurt again and Hundley’s skill set is perfect for not only this team but this division. With a division with great defenses and pass rushers, a mobile quarterback in the pocket is crucial. There’s a reason the NFC West has two of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league, it’s because this division has great defenses. Arizona needs a quarterback to get back to the postseason and Hundley is a great security blanket should Palmer get hurt again.

What NFL Team Could be the Dark Horse for Landing Marcus Mariota

Marcus-MariotaWhere will Mariota go? This has been the biggest question when it comes to the 2015 NFL Draft. At the moment, it is assumed that Florida State’s Jameis Winston will be drafted with the first overall pick. After that, the picture gets very murky.

Could the Titans draft Mariota? While the team does have Zach Mettenberger primed to take over the starting role, the Titans may feel that Mariota has more upside and better mobility to make up for Tennessee’s shaky offensive line then Mettenberger.

What about the Redskins? The Robert Griffin saga could be reaching its conclusion with Griffin’s option for next season counting for $16 Million  against the cap. The organization may decide that the once emerging star and rookie of the year has overstayed his welcome in the nation’s capital.

The Jets? Even though the Jets front office has been adamant that it will continue to try to develop Geno Smith, head coach Todd Bowles has said that the Jets will look to address the quarterback position in the draft. New York hasn’t had a franchise signal caller since Joe Namath and could feel that Mariota is their future franchise quarterback.

Even beyond those teams there has been numerous speculations especially that Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles, who have been wheeling and dealing all offseason, will try to move up to take Mariota even though Kelly denies this possible option. However, there is one team that people aren’t talking about who could be in the sweepstakes for Mariota’s services and has the ammunition to go up and get the quarterback. That team is…

The Cleveland Browns. Scratching your head? Let me explain. Despite the poor play at quarterback last season Cleveland finished with a 7-9 record and had a chance to make the playoffs. Cleveland is desperate for a franchise quarterback and thought that they might have found one in last year’s draft. Unfortunately, Johnny Football is now Johnny Rehab as last year’s first round pick has careened out of control.  While Cleveland still has holes at the wide receiver and tight end, the most glaring is quarterback.

While the Browns have signed Josh McCown
Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Brownshe is a stop-gap at best at this point in his career. The team has no idea when Manziel will be back and more importantly if he can play in the NFL. Cleveland needs a franchise quarterback to build around and has something no other team has, two first round picks.

Cleveland could trade both picks, or move one pick will keeping the other first round pick this year in a package deal to move up and grab Mariota. If they elect to keep a first rounder this year, and presumably give up high future picks, the team could use that pick to give Mariota a play maker. Would Mariota make the Browns a contender over night? Probably not, but Cleveland is in a better spot then people think.

Despite their tough division and poor quarterback play last season the team finished with a decent record. Mike Pettine has a solid running game and an underrated defense. Like Rex Ryan, we know that Pettine’s square will have a formidable defense. If Mariota can come in and make plays then the Browns could make a run at a division title as soon as next year.

Will this happen? It’s anyone’s guess. While it would make sense for Cleveland to move up, they may feel there are better quarterback options later in the draft or they still, I don’t see how, but still have faith in Johnny Manziel. Either way, don’t be surprised if a franchise that’s been desperate for a franchise quarterback decides to pull the trigger and move up for Mariota.

One thing we do know. It’s going to be an interesting draft because Mariota could go anywhere.

New York Jets Mock Draft 1.0 (Post Combine)

First Round: Amari Cooper WR Alabama Amari-Cooper-Alabama

With the sixth pick in the upcoming draft, it looks like the Jets will probably miss out on both Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. If Mariota does fall to the Jets, New York could trade him to Philadelphia for a plethora of draft picks. However, in this mock draft there will be no trade scenarios and will be based on a seven round mock draft. With the pick the Jets would draft Amari Copper out of Alabama.

Cooper would be a great fit for the Jets who desperately need a playmaker to team with Eric Decker. While the Jets have the money to spend in free agency, reports from inside the organization have reported that the Jets will use that cap space for corner backs and interior line men. While the offensive line needs to be upgraded and Brandon Scherff would be a nice piece for New York, the team desperately needs play makers and will likely release Percy Harvin due to his large cap hit. Cooper can take over a game and has the size and explosiveness to be a number one receiver for whoever plays quarterback in New York. In my mock draft, he is the second receiver off the board as the Raiders take Kevin White out of West Virginia. The reason? White is two inches taller at 6’3 and ran a 4.35 40 yard dash compared to Cooper’s 4.42 time. The Raiders love big recovers who are fast and White would fit the build. However, the Jets would get a receiver who could make an impact from day one in Cooper.

Round 2: Byron Jones CB Connecticut 

jehu-chesson-byron-jones-ncaa-football-michigan-connecticut1There is no question that the Jets secondary was abysmal last season. With Todd Bowles already stressing the need for corners in his defense the question will be when, not if the Jets draft a corner. Even if the team brings in a free agent corner, Dee Milliner’s injury concerns and the lack of depth at the position are still a huge problem. Jones is freak athlete who jumped 44 1/2 inches in the vertical leap and broke the combine record with a broad jump of over twelve feet. While his play on the field has some concerns, there is no question that his explosiveness and size at 6’1 and 199 pounds make him a great prospect. Jones has struggled in zone defenses, but has proven he is a solid man and press cover corner which fits perfectly into Bowles system.

While this may seem a little early, Bowles could look at Jones as a player he could mold into a great NFL corner. Jones also could be extra valuable to the Jets because New York has to play New England twice a year. With New England using big tight ends on the outside and in the slot, Jones’ size and explosiveness could help Bowles slow down Tom Brady’s tight ends.

Round 3: Duke Johnson RB Miami Duke+Johnson+Miami+v+Nebraska+ZfHfTUyosO7l

With running backs falling in the last few drafts the Jets could get a steal in round three with Johnson. While the Jets already have Chris Ivory, Johnson’s speed and shiftiness as a runner would make him a perfect complementary piece. The best way to take pressure off whoever New York’s quarterback is going to be next season is to run the ball. While he may not be a full-time back right away, his ability to catch on third downs and ability to break off big runs would make Johnson a valuable part of the Jets offense. Scouts compare Johnson to Lesean McCoy and if he is anything like McCoy is in Philadelphia, New York would get another explosive playmaker on the offense.

Round 4: Denzel Perryman ILB Miami Denzel Perryman

Back to Miami again. Unless something dramatically changes it looks like David Harris will hit the open market and will probably get a big contract that the Jets cannot match. With a base 3-4 defense Todd Bowles and the Jets could use a second middle linebacker behind Demario Davis in the draft. Perryman ran a 4.78 at the combine and is slightly undersized at 5-11 and 236 pounds. However, he would be a great fit in the Jets defense with both great instincts and tackling. Perryman is great against the run and led the Hurricanes with 110 tackles and 9.5 tackles for a loss. On top of that, he has the athleticism and versatility to stay on the field on passing downs, one achilles heel for David Harris. While the Jets can improve most of their woes in free agency, losing Harris could be a big blow. However, Perryman could be a day one starter and could form a formidable tandem with Davis in the middle of the Jets defense for years to come.

Round 5: Corey Crawford DE Clemson corey-crawford-clemson-suspension-georgia

There is no question the defensive line is the strongest position on the New York Jets. However, this unit still could use some depth. Todd Bowles says that his defense is about versatility and having the ability to adjust. Crawford could be a player that would thrive under Bowles. The 6’5 283 pound defensive end from Clemson showed his versatility playing all the positions on the defensive line will also lining up as a stand up 3-4 outside linebacker. With Bowles switching between 4-3 and 3-4 fronts, and player with the versatility like Crawford gives the Jets a solid backup at multiple positions.

Round 7: Hayes Pullard ILB USC web_hayes_RalfCheung

As stated before not only is it likely that the Jets will lose David Harris, but that their depth at middle linebacker is thin. Even with Davis and Perryman, the depth at middle linebacker is still an issue and the Jets could be an injury away from a disaster. Pullard was a tackling machine at USC with 377 tackles over the past four season with the Trojans. His aggressiveness has gotten him in trouble with  numerous penalties and an ejection for targeting last season. Still Pullard has proven that he is a tackling machine. While he may not be as polished and ready as Perryman, Pullard could be a versatile linebacker in Todd Bowles defense who can move around and make plays on special teams where he led the Trojans in coverage. A solid all-around player Pullard would be a nice piece on the Jets defense.

Priority Free Agent: Tyler Varga FB/RB Yale y8y0gvabowq85gfx

While he could be picked in the draft, if Varga is available after the draft the Jets should go after him immediately. With Tommy Bohanon struggling at full back, the Jets could use one in Varga. As a running back in college, Varga ran for 1,423 in his senior season with 26 touchdowns. He has a nose for the end zone and proved it in the Senior Bowl, with two rushing touchdowns. While he may need to develop as a blocker, Varga showed at the Senior Bowl that he is able to block well as a full back, but his value is versatility. Varga can not only block but run with the ball effectively. In essence New York would not only get a full back, but also a running back that can line up in the backfield or as a full back depending on the situation. Todd Bowles has stressed that he wants versatile players on New York next season, and Varga could be a player that fits the mold perfectly.