The Robert Griffin III era in Washington D.C. is concluding before it really even had a chance to catch steam.
Injuries and inconsistencies plagued the Washington Redskins quarterback, and team president Bruce Allen affirmed in an interview on Feb. 23 what we all believed, that RGIII would not be a member of the franchise that drafted him number two overall in the 2012 draft.
Speculation has been running since the beginning of the 2015 season, when head coach Jay Gruden announced that Kirk Cousins would be the team’s starting quarterback, that Griffin would be heading to Dallas to backup Tony Romo.
While Jerry Jones might salivate at the thought of having Griffin there incase Romo goes down again, the other Texas team should possibly consider adding him to their roster and maybe have him as their opening day starter?
That’s right, RGIII should be a Houston Texan in 2016.
How we got here
Before we get into why Griffin should be a Houston Texan, let’s look back on his career and how we got to this conversation to begin with.
The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner out of Baylor University finished his college career with with 78 touchdown passes to 17 interceptions and 32 rushing TDs, making him a top candidate for the number one selection in the 2012 NFL draft next to current Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck. This marked the first draft since 1998, with Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf, that there was no clear cut favorite to who would go number one and number two.
After a trade with the then St. Louis Ram (now the Los Angeles Rams), the Redskins moved up to the number two spot to take Griffin, but like the Colts won the 1998 draft with Manning, they won the 2012 draft with Luck.
Griffin saw success his rookie season, tossing 20 TD passes to five INTs and rushing for seven TDs, earning him Rookie of the Year Honors. Bad luck would rear it’s ugly head in the 2012 Wild Card round against the Seattle Seahawks when the rookie sensation tore his ACL, setting in motion the events that would lead his eventual release.
Griffin would return to start the 2013 season and would toss 16 TDs to 12 INTs in 15 starts, winning three of those games. Then head coach Mike Shanahan benched Griffin in the last three games of the season to “prevent further injury.”
In 2014, Griffin would again start the season under new head coach Gruden, but dislocated his ankle in week one against the Jacksonville Jaguars before returning in week nine. Three straight losses sent Griffin to the bench in favor of Colt McCoy, but he would return in week 15 against the New York Giants and remain the starter for the rest of the season, throwing four TDs and six INTs on the year.
Gruden would announce that Kirk Cousins would be the team’s starting QB going into the 2015 season, essentially putting a stamp on the package that would eventually ship RGII out of Washington.
Why the Houston Texans?
One name comes to mind when asking why RGIII might work in Houston, and that’s Bill O’Brien.
The former New England Patriots offensive coordinator knows how to play to his quarterback’s strengths, and his offensive mind helped the Pats reach the Super Bowl in 2011, before O’Brien departed for the head coaching job at Penn State University.
In his two season as a college head coach, O’Brien went 15-9 and brought out the best football in Matt McGloin who threw 24 TDs to 5 INTs in 2012. The following season, Christian Hackenburg threw 20 TDs to 10 INTs, his best statistical season in his college career.
Since coming to the NFL, O’Brien has had back-to-back nine win seasons and a division title, and he’s done this all while playing six QBs in those two season. Yes, six!
Ryan Fitzpatrick and Case Keenum were the 2014 QBs while Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallet, Brandon Weeden and T.J. Yates were the 2015 QB’s.
The Texans were the first team in NFL history to win a division with four starting QBs in one season. Unfortunately, luck ran out as Hoyer started against the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2015 Wild Card game and tossed five INTs to zero TDs.
Needless to say, the Texans will need a QB, and with the 22nd pick in the 2016 draft there are no guarantees that guys like Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Paxton Lynch will be sitting pretty at that spot.
Some ESPN analysts believe Hackenberg and O’Brien may reunite in Houston, but Hackenberg struggled in college, throwing 48 TDs to 30 INTs in his career. If the Texans do draft him, he’d be better off holding a clipboard for a season or two.
Plus, Griffin is a Texas native and his family resides in Copperas Cove, a little over three hours from Houston. Being back in his home state might give Griffin more incentive to work harder and play better.
I’m sure the Texans fanbase wouldn’t mind a homegrown QB to root for, as they were robbed out of that opportunity in the 2006 draft when the team drafted Mario Williams number one overall instead of Vince Young. Although, that wound up being a good thing.
The Houston Texans haven’t had steady QB play since the days of Matt Schaub, and that’s using the term “stability” lightly.
Yes, the former Texans QB had a decent career in Houston leading them to winning seasons in 2009, 2011 and 2012 and winning one playoff game in ’12. (T.J. Yates took over in week 11 of the ’11 season and won one playoff game). Injuries early on and a steady decline in 2013 led to Schaub’s release, and the team has been struggling with QB play ever since.
Fresh starts have a history of helping players.
Peyton Manning and Drew Brees both saw career resurgences after leaving the teams that drafted them (Manning with the Colts and Brees with the San Diego Chargers) and even won Super Bowls.
Michael Vick had a small resurgence with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010, and Kurt Warner also saw a resurgence with the Arizona Cardinals and led them to a Super Bowl.
I’m not saying RGIII will win a Super Bowl, but at the very least after having sat out a whole season, his injuries should have all healed and he’ll have a fresh mind.
Like I said earlier, O’Brien knows how to play to a QB’s strengths.
The other six guys he coached did not put up Pro Bowl numbers, but if O’Brien can have back-to-back winning seasons and a division title under his name with a bunch of no names, imagine what he can do with a first round talent like RGIII.
Gruden asked RGIII to stay in the pocket, something he prefers not to do as we all know he’s a scrambler. If O’Brien can let RGIII go back to being himself, not only will he bring some stability to Houston, but maybe get them beyond nine wins and win another division title.
But, then again, we’ll have to wait and see.