The Official Mom of Redskins Hog Heaven heard an update last week on Robert Griffin III's knee and she was certain the young star would be inundated by calls from tort lawyers.
Why, asked I?
"Because of the way he was mistreated by that man." The Official Mom couldn't recall the name of Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan.
There you go. The official Mom was thinking like a typical mom whose sympathies are entirely with the kid.
Football is a world of men. Trying to explain that world to women is never entirely successful. Throw a bunch of men together absent women, say on a weekend fishing trip, or any kind of stag party, and we revert to our teen years complete with earthy language, crude jokes, and a healthy dose of He-Man hyper masculinity (I have the power).
The Official Mom was sure RGIII had to be misinformed when I explained that Griffin III wanted to stay in the Seahawks game. He was just being one of the guys in a locker room where all of the guys are playing hurt. She couldn't see it.
Both the league office and the players' union looked into the Redskins' handling of Griffin's injury and neither finds fault in it. The lawyers won't get far with the supposed victim or with the Courts.
Everyone from Mike Shanahan to fans to Griffin himself can learn from the experience.
Learning from the past
Pain should tell you something.
Jay Cutler took himself out of a playoff game when he believed his injury-hampered performance hurt the Bears' chance to win. Clinton Portis hit the dirt in a 2010 game when facing imminent hits by defenders.
Griffin might never have heard of those instances, but the negative fallout reinforced the culture of playing through pain. In fact, Griffin pulled a guilt card on Shanahan by saying he (Griffin) earned the right to play with pain.
And he certainly did earn that right, but Griffin was wrong about being the team's best and only quarterback option to win. At one point during the third quarter, Griffin's passer rating was in the low 70s. Russell Wilson's rating was 104.
QB Passer Rating differential in one of three stats Hog Heaven finds worth watching. Cold, Hard Football Facts considers QBR differential a quality stat because it has the highest correlation to winning. The differential is as much a measure of a defense's ability to suppress quarterback passing as it is a measure of the quarterback himself.
In the third quarter, Washington's defense was doing a poor job containing Wilson as was shown by his high QBR. Gimpy Griffin was not playing well enough to overcome that. Seattle was doing a better job against an easier, more hampered, target.
Coaches must coach
And that's my only knock against the Coaches Shanahan in this affair. In the second half of the Seahawks game, Head Coach Shanahan failed to put a healthier quarterback on the field while OC Shanahan did not adjust play calling to a lot more handoffs to Alfred Morris. You know, a game plan that either Griffin or Kirk Cousins could run while still expecting to win. However, you read it, this was a failure to coach. Hog Heaven thinks that it cost us the game.
Landry warned us
LaRon Landry said some highly uncomplimentary things about the Redskins' training and medical staff when Washington declined to sign him to a new contract.
Landry missed parts of two seasons with a slow-healing Achilles injury. He opted for an unconventional stem cell treatment instead of surgery suggested by the team. The Redskins medical staff misdiagnosed an injury to a bruised wrist when Landry actually suffered a dislocation with torn ligaments.
Washington had a tough time replacing Landry who played a full season with the Jets. It's time to take his comments more seriously. The Redskins have competent trainers an medical people, headlined by Dr. James Andrews, the go-to orthopedic surgeon of all sports. Something is clearly amiss with the way the coaches, trainers and doctors are working together.
In management, we call that process improvement. You follow sports to get away from boring work issues. Ignoring this problem could be damaging your favorite athletes.
Rookie growing pains aren't always in the knee
Griffin does not escape blame either. For a player who took pains to say that his play style is not like Michael Vick's, Griffin runs in the manner of Vick with similar results.
Despite the gibberish he told the coach, he was hurt because he had an injured ligament. If the coach is going to leave the medical decisions to the player, the player owes the coach a better decision, or more accurate description of his physical symptoms.
The Redskins had the best orthopedic surgeon in the locker room at half time of the Seahawks game and nobody asked the right question. They asked the question that got the answer they wanted to hear. There is a difference.
Grow up, young man.
Every one of these issues is fixable. Do that and all the Official Moms will be happy.
Image: Jacqueline Griffin with son, Robert III, from here.
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