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RGIII got hurt; let's all overreact!

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The morning-after reaction to RGIII's knee injury was predictable: He needs to stop running so much. Here is one such reaction that I found particularly irrational, from longtime D.C. sports talk radio host Steve Czaban.


Leave it to me, to be a real prick just hours after the most incredible, blood pulsating win since Dan Snyder bought this team.

RG3 needs to smarten up. Quick.

If there's one thing I always say I wish RGIII had more of, it's intelligence.

And it would help if his coached stopped enabling the "tough guy" act.

This was said before the season, during the season, and right up until the minute Haloti Ngata dump-trucked the franchise's leg into a grotesque 120 degree angle.

RGIII was hurt because he thinks he's a tough guy. Good start.

You keep running him, he's gonna get killed.


And nobody likes an "I told ya so", but when the people who need tellin', ain't listenin', then you gotta keep sayin'.

So here I am. Just sayin'...

Our first seven paragraphs were one sentence each. This is the staple of any good COLUMNIST COLUMN. #justsayin

Either change his ways and change this scheme, or get all the good DVD highlights you can these next few years. It's that simple.

So we are abandoning the pistol formation and all the zone read/option plays that go with it. Seems like a rational response.

RG3 is nothing like Mike Vick. He's smart. [...]

But I thought he had to smarten up?

[...] He's humble. He's dedicated. He throws with an accuracy that Vick can only dream of, with a better motion and all the power. He's slightly faster in straight line acceleration. And he can read defenses. Well. Already.

Why must we always compare running QBs to Vick as if there haven't been plenty of other QBs with running ability that had extremely successful careers?

But RG3 is just like Vick in one area. He's human. And like Vick, he's doomed to never play full seasons with this style. He's not quite as slight for the position as Vick. But he's close.

RGIII is nothing like Vick. Except for this one thing. And also this other thing.

And when you get "out and about" on that field of monsters, you put yourself in the most danger.

Pocket hits and those behind the line of scrimmage can be bad. Like a car accident with somebody running a red light.

Downfield hits are like railroad collisions. You never win those.

RGIII has won a lot more of those than he's lost. But point taken: Hits are bad.

Hell, there was a play where unapologetic head-hunter Bernard Pollard launched at Griffin with his crow-logoed warhead just an instant after RG3 slid. Griffin popped up and begged for a flag. They don't flag misses, my friend. And I can assure you Pollard didn't care about the 15 yards or the $50,000.

RGIII was sliding out of bounds when this happened. Are we now blaming him for opposing players' illegal hits?

Said Pollard just a month ago: "If a quarterback is going to the sideline, and I have a chance, I swear to you I'm going to kill him."

He was only half-joking.

Pollard is a horrible person. What does this have to do with RGIII smartening up?

Griffin said after the game he's confident it's not an ACL. We'll see. He also called it a fluke incident. No, it's not. These hits are like rolling snake-eyes in craps. Not a fluke. Just a matter of rolls.

The odds of rolling snake-eyes are 36:1. Something that happens 2.7 percent of the time is a fluke. As was that incident.

I already fear we have enjoyed the very sweetest nectar of the RG3 Era. That may sound stupid, and reactionary, and pessimistic, but hey, you know me, I'll just say it if I feel it.

Still #justsayin

If this knee injury scrubs off just enough of his speed going forward, if NFL defenses get a good handle in the off-season on how to defuse the pistol, and if RG3 takes ANOTHER dump-truck hit to another part of his body...

One sure way to defuse the pistol: Never let RGIII run.

Well... don't yell at me. You know you think these dark thoughts too.

Should RG3 never scramble out of the pocket for positive yards? Of course not.

The play he was hurt on was a result of him scrambling out of the pocket for positive yards.

Should RG3 be instructed as a "pure" pocket passer? No.

But this is too much designed QB running from the Shanahii already to be sustainable. And RG3 thinks he can escape any pack of pursuers.

There are virtually no designed QB runs in this offense. RGIII has the option to run, and almost always chooses not to. But if you take away the threat of him running, then the entire scheme fails. Most of his runs are actually him scrambling for positive yards, which we've already decided is OK.

Right now, he almost can. That will not last.

He needs to be drilled hard by the coaching staff on NEVER cutting back INTO the field of play on downfield runs. (Slide, or duck out of bounds)

He needs to be coached up on throw-aways, tuck-and-covers, and ditching screen pass plays that are sniffed out by the defense.

He's gotten much better at all these things as the season has gone on, I'd imagine as a result of being drilled hard by the coaching staff. Mike Shanahan harps on it in almost every press conference.

And putting him back out there to limp around for a few plays was beyond stupid. Shanny needs to think about the "long game" here and not just this season. Even if trainers *thought* he had all key ligaments intact, can you imagine if we find out an ACL strain turned into a full tear by him proving what a "warrior" he is?

A valid argument has emerged in the third-to-last paragraph! Agreed: Putting RGIII back in was questionable. Although everything worked out fine.

There's only ONE of him. And a LOT of games to be played, and won.

Time to start doing the math on all that.

1 + [a LOT] = cheeseburgers. I'm horrible at math.


There are lessons to be learned from RGIII's injuries. But they are complex and cannot be simplified into "he needs to stop all that running around stuff." Czaban is hardly the only person making this argument, and a knee-jerk reaction to a player like Giffin getting hurt is understandable. What isn't as easy to understand is why it happened and how the Redskins fix it.

Do they limit the number of times he runs? If you take away his scrambles on passing plays, he's already only running about five times or less per game. Or probably just enough to keep defenses guessing on the zone read/option plays.

Do they change the offense entirely? They could get rid of the pistol formation that has been incredibly effective this season (1st in the NFL in rushing) and go to a more traditional scheme. But then you are compromising RGIII's ability in favor of theoretically keeping him healthy. Considering he was injured scrambling on a passing play, there's little to suggest a scheme change would result in less risk anyway.

Was this just a freak occurrence, the result of playing the game of football? Maybe so, although his concussion in Week 5 was avoidable.

I don't have the answers, probably because they don't exist. RGIII is going to get hit and he is going to get hurt. Every quarterback does. The goal is for him to continue to give up extra yardage in favor of sliding or running out of bounds. Those are things upon which he will continue to improve. He will figure out the right balance and a solution to being effective while staying healthy. He'll learn when to throw it away, when to run, when to slide or when to run out of bounds, because he's way too smart not to.