Let’s be real fans. You and I both have heard this tune before.
The much-improved Redskins offense will flourish—wow, sorry—my fingers won’t allow me to finish the rest of the sentence without lying. And I can’t lie.
Am I a pessimist? No. An unemployed realist? Well, ouch.
I was sensitized at an early age: blame Dan Snyder.
As an Eagles’ die-hard at the time (I’m an NFL guy now), I questioned God’s existence when our franchise quarterback, Donovan McNabb, was traded to Redskins Nation in 2010. Of course I sobbed, who didn’t? Four years later I stand unfazed and impervious by another wild transaction that occurred in this year’s offseason—especially with the Redskins on the other end. Really. Despite ESPN.com writer, John Keim, voicing his low expectations for DJax to sign with the ‘Skins, I predicted the wide receiver’s fate four days before rap icon Wale uploaded this voguish picture on Instagram.
Again, let’s be real fans.
The Redskins, who, with limited cap space, had every intention to wisely exhaust their bankroll on bolstering the offensive line, secondary and linebacking core, deemed best to invest their funds on a one-trick pony from Philadelphia for $16 million guaranteed over two years.
This acquisition, no matter how praiseworthy, sets Robert Griffin III under yet, another heat lamp extremely early into the season—and more worrisomely, in his young career. The level of pressure to lead the offense back to its winning ways auto-elevates for the third-year signal caller, who we’re not even sure if he’s completely over his dreary sophomore campaign.
My concern for Griffin III’s development as a quarterback overlooks the confidence-instilling headlines and articles I’ve been reading. So? What if Jackson and Garcon’s presence will keep defenses on edge? I could care less of how the Redskins’ offense will finally reach its max potential with Griffin III’s ability to extend plays with his legs. We’re living in a quarterback-driven league, and without a mentally healthy gunslinger behind center, offenses dissipate–see Josh Freeman.
Last October, wideout Pierre Garcon fired this mental toughness-denting shot, “If you suck at passing, you suck at passing … We’ve just got to figure it out.” Similar to Jackson, Garcon was signed in the 2012 offseason to become Griffin III’s top target. No. 88 missed six games due to a toe injury, yet his production contributed to the Redskins’ near-flawless 9-1 record. Emotions got the best of Garcon’s tongue when he let that snide comment roll off, however, there must be zero tolerance for those types of remarks in 2014.
What keeps me up late at night is that Jackson is capable of committing the same sin. We’ve heard the phrase before, “what goes around comes around.”
Funny how the world works; Jackson will eat homemade humble pie for the next three years—recall 2010—when the arrogant third-year wideout was quoted, “I don’t think we lost anything, even with McNabb being gone.”
Laying the team morale and foundation must be addressed by Griffin III, and soon. The message for the offense is clear: receivers, quarterbacks, linemen and running backs must build each other up, mentally, and upkeep a positive demeanor in the locker room this offseason. The sooner Andre Roberts, Santana Moss, Garcon and Jackson start solidifying their rapports, the more fun it’ll be for fans to watch their chemistry in action, specifically executing timing routes.
And with only four months away, Jackson’s prima donna reputation better be disowned quickly—or else it could mean the end for RGIII.
We’ll know come September if Robert Griffin III got the right handle on Jay Gruden’s offense, by the way he and the receivers drive down the field.