What If Robert Griffin III Never Got Hurt for the Washington Redskins

An untimely injury prevented Robert Griffin III from reaching his full-potential as not only the Washington Redskins quarterback of the future but as one of the top quarterbacks in the league today. But what if we could go back in time and prevent it from happening? How good would RG3 and the Redskins have been?

Robert Griffin III’s journey with the Washington Redskins began in the 2012 NFL Draft when the team selected him the the number two overall pick. Griffin entered the 2012 NFL Draft coming off a final college season with the Baylor Bears that saw him win the Heisman trophy after leading the Baylor Bears to a 10-3 record and one of the top offenses in the country.

Griffin and the Bears ranked fourth in points per game (45.3), fourth in passing yards per game (351.5), 10th in rushing yards per game (235.6), and second in yards of total offense per game (587.1). Individually, Griffin led all quarterbacks in the country in total touchdowns (47), sixth in total passing yards (4,293), and tied for fourth in passing touchdowns (37).

Despite a rough start to his rookie season with a 3-6 record in his first nine games as a starter going into their bye week, Griffin and the Redskin finished the regular season going 7-0 in their final seven games of the season finishing with a 10-6 record winning the NFC East division and making the NFL Playoffs. In the six games Griffin played in that span, Griffin put 12 passing touchdowns (8 pre-bye week) and a 119.4 passer rating (93.9 passer rating pre-bye week). This parlayed Robert Griffin III to being named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

It was, however, in week 14 of Griffin’s rookie season where we get our first glimpse into our What If discussion when Robert Griffin III hurt his knee in the fourth quarter of a game against the Baltimore Ravens. Although Griffin sat out the teams’ week 15 game, he was right back in the lineup for the last two weeks of the season.

Fast forward to the Redskins’ Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks and in the fourth quarter, Robert Griffin III re-injures his knee and is forced to have offseason surgery to repair his LCL and ACL. One thing I failed to mention is in the week 14 game where Griffin suffered the initial knee injury, Griffin returned to the game afterward hopping on one leg for multiple plays before he was taken out for good. It was later reported, however, that Redskins team doctor Dr. James Andrews did not clear Griffin to return to that game.

While the Redskins’ offense in Griffin’s rookie season was not exactly pass heavy it did not stop them from ranking fourth in the NFL in points per game the highest they ranked in that category since 1999. In addition, the Redskins also ranked in the top 10 in total rushing yards per game (1st), rushing touchdowns (2nd), total yards (5th) and first downs (7th).

Griffin was never the same after this as he would play two more seasons as the Redskins’ starting quarterback finishing with a combined 5-15 record before he was replaced in favor of Kirk Cousins.

Let’s just say for the sake of argument Robert Griffin III and the Redskins obey doctor’s orders and Griffin sits out the rest of the team’s week 14 game against the Baltimore Ravens along with the week 15 game he actually sat out in real life. Let’s say Griffin remains healthy and is able to hold the Redskins starting quarterback until say…the 2017 season (Kirk Cousins’ last season before joining the Minnesota Vikings). How much success would the Redskins had in that time period?

From 2013-2017, the names on the Redskins offense included running back Alfred Morris; wide receivers Santana Moss, Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, and Jamison Crowder; and tight ends Jordan Reed (when healthy) and Vernon Davis. Not to mention current Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay was the team’s offensive coordinator from 2014-2016.

With all of those reliable players on the Redskins offense, Sean McVay as OC and a healthy RG3 during that span, what is their ceiling? How many NFC East division titles would they have been able to win? Would they have been able to win a playoff game or multiple playoff games? Are the Redskins contenders make or even win a Super Bowl? Does Robert Griffin III win an AP Offensive Player of the Year award or even an MVP award?

If I’m being honest, I don’t think the Redskins would have been that much better if RG3 would have been able to remain healthy. While I would not be worried about how good they would have been offensively, its the defensive side of the ball that worries me.

The last time the Redskins ranked in the top 10 in points allowed and/or total yards allowed was in 2008. Although this keeps me from giving them a chance to contend in the NFC, I think they would have a good chance of being a perennial playoff team and possibly winning a playoff game for the first time since 2005.

It’s a shame that NFL fans (specifically Redskins fans) never got to see what the full-potential of Robert Griffin III could have been. After such a magnificent rookie season, Griffin never got to see what he could produce in his prime like fellow draft members Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles or even former teammate Kirk Cousins were all able to experience.

What do you think? How good do you think Robert Griffin III would have been if not for injuries?




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