The Washington Redskins and Robert Griffin III have become the most miserable marriage in the NFL.
Griffin is entering his fourth season in the NFL and his second under head coach Jay Gruden.
Gruden has seemingly gone out of his way to criticise Griffin, from ridiculing his pocket presence, reads, and drop-backs, to leaving him in a preseason game to get pummelled and eventually concussed in a recent preseason game.
Griffin, meanwhile, hasn’t exactly exuded unrelenting enthusiasm for Washington, answering a question about his involvement in in-game decision-making with the telling quote, “I just work here, man.”
He also foolishly — although it was just typical confident-athlete speak — said he feels like the best quarterback in the NFL.
Some combination of these things and Griffin’s reluctance to criticise himself has led to reports that players on his own offensive line don’t like him.
Perhaps that’s how this type of play happens:
These recent developments looks worse when you consider the Redskins’ decision to pick up Griffin’s fifth-year, $US16.2 million option in the off-season.
Griffin has struggled mightily since returning from the knee injury that ended his stellar 2012 rookie season. He’s played in 22 games in the last two seasons, throwing 20 touchdowns to 18 interceptions with 11 fumbles.
At the time the Redskins picked up the option, GM Scot McCloughan said:
“He’s a good football player. He’s got the tape out there. Everyone knows what he did in  when he was offensive rookie of the year. This offseason will be his second in the system, being healthy, being able to go through the offseason, I’m really excited and really looking forward to all three quarterbacks and just watching as Phase 2 gets going, I get to start watching him move around and make plays.”
The fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury, meaning if Griffin is hurt and can’t play the 2016 season, Washington still has to pay him that $US16.2 million, even if they cut him. If he’s healthy, though, they can cut him before the first day of the 2016 league year and Griffin will be out of luck.
This is a risky proposition. Griffin, an injury-prone player, might not be healthy, thus guaranteeing him the $US16 million.
This further complicates the tumultuous relationship between Griffin and Gruden. Although it’s not a harmonious situation, by picking up Griffin’s fifth-year option, Washington is pushing Gruden to start Griffin to see what he can do. With $US16 million on the line, Washington is forcing Gruden’s hand.
There also aren’t a lot of great alternatives if Washington wants to move on. Backups Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy have both had their shots and didn’t wow anyone. The next option would be drafting another quarterback and restarting the rebuilding process all over.
If Griffin is healthy and plays well, this isn’t the worst thing in the world, and if Washington can win some games, his relationship with Gruden may improve. There is more evidence pointing to the opposite, however, suggesting Griffin will continue to struggle with injuries and command of the offence, thus continuing this already unhappy marriage.
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