The Washington Redskins bet the farm on Robert Griffin III yesterday, agreeing to send three first round picks and a second round pick to the St. Louis Rams for the second overall pick. After getting atrocious play from Rex Grossman and John Beck last year (except against our "defense"), Mike Shanahan is prepared to admit his mistake of not upgrading the position last off season by making a huge splash this year.
Because I've got a real problem and not a lot going on today, upon hearing about the trade I immediately thought, "I wonder what Griffin will look like in a hated 'Skins uniform." As I PhotoShopped the above image, I began to think about this development from not only my perspective as a football fan, but as a Cowboys fan. I don't know about you, but the final image does one thing and one thing only: scares the hell out of me.
After the jump, we'll take a look at just how much Robert Griffin III changes the future of the NFC East and the Cowboys' off season plans.
From a divisional perspective, the most important point to make is that this division now contains Michael Vick (the most elusive running QB in the league) and now RGIII (who will challenge Vick for that spot immediately). This means that, every year, Dallas will face the two most explosive running QB's for a literal quarter of their season (four of sixteen games). The Cowboys' defense (and the Giants, as well) will be forced to focus on stopping dual-threat quarterbacks. Roster decisions and game plans will reflect the pressure that Vick's and RGIII's running abilities put on opposing defenses.
In my opinion, Griffin-to-Washington means that pass rusher is now the most pressing need for Dallas to address this off season. Secondary help is also needed, but Dallas has to get more pressure on the quarterback to be successful going forward. Most likely, Griffin won't be a great NFL quarterback as a rookie. However, his athleticism means that he will buy time immediately. Pedestrian pressure from our front-seven will not be enough, especially with our deficiencies in the secondary. RGIII has the deep accuracy to burn teams that do not get consistent pressure in the backfield.
The most pressing thing, however, is how this affects the long-term future of the division. Washington is now the only NFC East team whose starting QB is young (Vick, Romo, and Manning are all 31 years old). Griffin is not only young, however; he is expected to be a superstar.
As a Cowboys fan, RGIII scares me. He exacerbates all of my uncertainty about the direction of the Cowboys franchise. He's going to give Dallas headaches both on and off the field. They bet the house over in Washington on a Texas son. A Texan I liked.
I used to like RGIII. He was bar-none the most exciting football player in college football this year, brought a traditionally pathetic football program into the national spotlight (and made them good), and appears to be extremely engaging and charismatic. Most importantly, however, Robert Griffin III was a Texan. While people may go on and on about LSU, Alabama, and USC, by God, Texans are proud of Texans. We all knew Griffin wouldn't end up with Dallas or Houston, and we were OK with that. We would appreciate our native son RGIII from afar as he tried to elevate Cleveland or Jacksonville or Miami like he elevated Baylor. But not this. Texans are proud of Texans. But we hate Redskins. Unfortunately, being a Texan and being a Washington Redskin are mutually exclusive, like good and evil.
I'll let you decide which is which.