Who better to get inside the mind of a quarterback than a panel of former QBs. On this episode of NFL Monday QB, our clever pocket passers discussed the controversial decision to keep a noticeably hurt Robert Griffin III in the game which eventually lead to a partial ACL and LCL tear.
Shanahan said RG3 told him he was “hurt” but not “injured” and was good to go back in the game . That decision judgment lead to a reinjured RG3 and the elimination of the ‘Skins. However, did Shanahan make the right decision by listening to a rookie quarterback who's never been in this situation before? His chemistry with RG3 isn't so developed that the two are on the same wavelength when it comes to just how bad an injury is.
“You can't leave it up to the player because if you're truly a starting quarterback you're going to tell him I can get it done,” Simms said. “All quarterbacks think they can get it done no matter how they feel. But when you're a head coach of a football team I was told this by Bill Parcells ‘I go by what I see' so you got to trust your eyes and Mike Shanahan probably was swayed by Robert Griffin III words.”
Rich Gannon knows the thought process of assessing an injury and a player's capability to play all too well. As a player Gannon underwent surgery twice for serious shoulder tears and 2004 he suffered a career-ending neck injury. Gannon had to decide when to shut it down.
“Back in the 2000 AFC Championship game Tony Siragusa separates my shoulder at half time I get injected and try to come out and play in the third quarter,” Gannon said. “I couldn't play, I wasn't helping the football team. As painful of a decision as it was for me to go up to [coach] Jon Gruden and have that conversation you have to do it. It's in the best interest of your team to try and win in a critical situation.”
It seems RG3 didn't have the maturity or foresight of Gannon and picked himself over the team.
"I'm the quarterback of this team," Griffin said. "My job is to be out there if I can play. ...I'm the best option for this team. That's why I'm the starter."
I'm sure Kirk Cousins would beg to differ.
That's when a more experienced Shanahan should have stepped in to make the decision. A Rookie quarterback like RG3 has plenty of playoff appearances left in him and to play him hurt while you're up 14-0 with a capable backup QB like Kirk Cousins seems like an ill-advised decisions by all parties involved.
“At some time in the game you have to think that the head coach has to look out for the best interest of the player,” Gannon said. “Sometimes you have to protect the player from himself and I don't know that Mike Shanahan did that in this situation. I really feel like a healthy Kirk Cousins would have been a better option than an immobile Robert Griffin III who was really hurting his football team at that point in the game.”
Dan Foutus claims that Shanahan's “old school”, “tough” ways led to the decision he made to keep Griffin in. It seems new school mixed with old school made for a dangerous combination this time around.
As always hindsight is always 20/20 and Shanahan and RG3 have to live with their injurious decisions. One can only hope that RG3's injury is not as crucial as another knee injury in a separate league i.e. Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls.
Either way, RG3 should become good buddies with Adrian Peterson in the off-season in order to get the scoop on how to come back from a career-altering injury.