hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

Z_CNHI News Service

September 19, 2013

RG3 needs time to recover, physically and mentally

Life is lonely for the leaders docked along the Potomac River. President Obama seems distracted, Speaker Boehner appears disturbed and Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III looks disarmed.  Times are so tough here, a case could be made that D.C. really stands for Dysfunction City.

Washingtonians are hardened when it comes to politics, but when their pro football team slumps – such as starting the 2013 NFL season with two confidence-shaking losses – patience is in short supply and fans get testy.

No one is giving up on Griffin, last year’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. There are those who think, with good reason, that he hasn’t had enough time to recover from late-season injuries to his right knee, one that required ACL surgery in January.

It’s just that RG3 isn’t the player he was last year, when he directed the read-option attack that had him passing and running Washington into the playoffs. He even outplayed Andrew Luck, the league’s top draft pick who did wonders in Indianapolis.

That magic, however, has been missing this year. Last Sunday, Green Bay sprinted to a 31-0 lead midway through the third quarter against Washington and coasted home to a 38-20 win.

Griffin, who has said he would be prefer to become more of a classic drop-back passer, might have looked like the same guy in his No. 10 jersey, but he wasn’t sounding like the RG3 of old after the stinging defeat. "I'm not afraid to sit here and say, 'Put that on my shoulders,'" Griffin told The Washington Post. “I'll take that. We didn't start fast because of me."

That’s a telling statement, and also illuminating. It’s not time to panic, but it seems that Washington needs a plan – a different approach – that gives Griffin a chance to safely return to his old playing ways.

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