In the wake of the news regarding the knee injury suffered by Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, there is a great deal of assumption and speculation surrounding nearly every aspect of the event. Whether or not he should have been in the game with an obvious injury? Who had the final say as to whether or not he would participate further? Is the player’s competitiveness enough to overlook potentially injuring them further? But there is one topic that most are overlooking.
Is the practice of having a rush first pass second quarterback a good idea in the first place? They obviously get tackled a lot more than other quarterbacks get tackled. And they obviously run the risk of injury more than a pocket passing quarterback does. Is it wise to put so much stock in the running quarterback, knowing full well that the opportunity to sustain potential season ending and even career ending injuries are that much higher?
Sure all players sustain injuries, and even the typical pocket passing quarterbacks get hurt. But statistically they get hit half as much as running quarterbacks. And as a general rule, the traditional quarterback slides prior to getting hit when they do have to run the ball. The quarterback is the most valuable part of the offense. Wouldn’t it be logical for the offense to keep him from precarious situations, like running down field?
A simple look at the quarterbacks with the most rushing yards in history tells a quite a tale of what can be expected. Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers had his career shortened by injuries, everyone knows that. But what people don’t know is that even after taking the starter position from Joe Montana, Young only completed three full seasons as a starter. His participation was limited due to so many injuries sustained while running the ball. Randall Cunningham has almost an identical story, he also only completed three full seasons as a starter in his illustrious career. He too was hampered by injuries related to him running the ball. And Michael Vick believe it or not has only completed one full 16 game season due to all the injuries that he has suffered running the ball. So far the only running quarterback that has been spared the injury bug is Cam Newton, but he has only played two seasons worth of football. It stands to reason that he too will suffer the pangs of injury or a shortened career in his current offensive scheme.
There are some significant lessons to be learned by Griffins injury. As of early this morning it has been reported that he has a partial tear of his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and a partial tear of his Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL). And after suffering a prior ACL tear in 2009, one does not know what the future holds for the young quarterback. If he returns to the field at all, will he be the same elusive game changer that he was prior to the injury? And if not, are his talents as a quarterback diminished because of his dependence on his running game? If they are, teams will look elsewhere for quarterbacking duties. This injury he sustained could be career ending in more ways than one. Lets hope that his career isn’t ended before it even started due to an offensive scheme that deliberately puts him in harms way.
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