Russell Wilson out-sprints RG3 in the NFL marathon
Robert Griffin III is a warrior. He’s tough as a crate of military-grade bricks. Everyone can say everything they want about Shanahan and Dr. James Andrews and the Redskins’ future. But RG3 is the type of fearless leader you want on your team.
But the Seahawks-Redskins Wildcard Playoff on Sunday came down to one thing: while RG3′s knee was being treated on the sideline, Russell Wilson was sprinting past Marshawn Lynch to throw a block. By Week 18, RG3 was beat up, yet Wilson was still bouncing around the field like a kid.
So Sunday night, I was ready. I had my article. The headline would be something like: “RG3 is a Warrior, but Russell Wilson is a Commander”. I’d portray Griffin as a reckless young buck trying to punish every tackler. I’d paint Wilson as a wise-beyond-his-years tactician sliding, getting out-of-bounds and preserving his body for his team. Therefore, I’d smartly conclude, Wilson was in better post-season condition than the hobbling RG3. That’s why the Seahawks won. I saw it clear and bright like Dirk Diggler’s name in neon.
I read what the other guys wrote, looked up Stephania Bell, found video of RG3′s concussion versus the Falcons and his knee injury versus the Ravens. You know, that stuff journalists do.
But I don’t see it.
In both plays, he’s trying to protect himself. Against Atlanta, he slides a bit too late and takes a shoulder to the head from Sean Weatherspoon.
Against Baltimore, after a thirteen yard gain he dips to avoid the full impact of Paul Kruger. What he doesn’t see is Haloti Ngata pursuing the play and blindsided him. Ngata is one amazing defensive tackle to be chasing down RG3 in the open field. Welcome to the NFL, home of the world’s fastest and most relentless 340 pound men.
If Ngata hit me like that, they’d be carrying me to the locker room in a dustpan.
So I just can’t write that article. It doesn’t feel like an accurate conclusion.
Sure, after a Week 3 beating by Cincinnati, Mike Shanahan said, “You don’t want a quarterback taking as many shots as he did.” Some writers have said Griffin’s concussion would make him smarter about avoiding contact. I could patch something together from selected quotes and video if I ignore the stuff that doesn’t contribute to my point.
As Homer Simpson put it, “You could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true.”
But everyone in the NFL is one nasty hit away from retirement. One bad shot to Russell Wilson during the regular season and we’re not having this discussion. And guys who play football afraid they’ll get hurt don’t keep jobs in the NFL. Do the Redskins, Seahawks or anyone else make the playoffs with their quarterback tiptoeing around?
I’m avoiding the temptation to force words together to prove what I want to prove. I think journalists do it all the time. Trust me, I could make someone who doesn’t know football think I’m correct. I could write something destined to anger some Skins fans and thereby get on one side of a loud argument. No page-views are bad page-views.
Instead, I’m writing about what happened, what I think, what I see and how I changed my mind.
You can continue to expect that from me.
I do wish the Seahawks had a chance to battle a full-strength RG3. I hope he has a swift and successful recovery. I also appreciate that even tough guys need a sense of humor.
“I screamed,” RG3 said about the Ngata hit. “Like a man, of course.”
David Klenda, also known as Eighty Six, is a poet, journalist, cook and cocktail maker. He also writes for Yahoo and Bright Hub Education. His ebooks are available at Smashwords and Amazon. Follow him on Twitter as @86ThePoet. See what he’s up to at Eighty Six the Poet.