LA Rams need to add Robert Griffin III for QB competition
By Jay Blucher
The LA Rams ended this season with quarterback Jared Goff as their starting “for now” QB, John Wolford as his backup QB, and, at least for the last playoff game, Bryce Perkins as their third-string option at signal-caller. Of course, Blake Bortles was sorta kinda somewhere maybe in that mix, too, but he’s destined to be a free agent.
Now, comes the news today that Robert Griffin III was waived by the Baltimore Ravens and will become a free agent. And the news added clarification that head coach Sean McVay is emphatic about the LA Rams’ need to increase competition at each position, including the quarterback position.
News flash: The Rams should seriously consider giving RG3 a shot.
Go ahead. Kick the tires on RG3. See what he’s got left in the tank. Find out if he can be the dual-threat QB that could make McVay salivate about incorporating him into this offense. After all, the Rams need to inject some juice, some pop, some explosiveness into their offensive game, especially the way the NFL is played now.
RG3 could just maybe possibly be the ticket. At the very least, a secure, well, security blanket for the helm.
And the best reason of all is this – McVay was RG3’s offensive coordinator in 2014 with the then- Washington Redskins. Who knows RG3 better than McVay? What other coach or coordinator can bring out the best in RG3, whilst recognizing his limitations as well?
Further, at 31 years old, he’s not all that long in the tooth for a QB. And his price is right at about $2 million per year, give or take a million. Let’s face it, the Rams cannot afford to go after one of the marquis-backups quarterbacks on the free-agent market such as Jacoby Brissett or Tyrod Taylor – those are much too pricey options.
Good locker room presence
Reports out of Baltimore where RG3 has served for the last three years as Lamarr Jackson’s backup are all good. He’s been a consummate professional, a steady mentor, and a veteran leader – well-liked by his teammates and coaching staff alike. It was the emergence of Tyler Hundley and Trace McSorley as backup QBs in Baltimore that made the Ravens move on from him. Of course, the Rams had great success out of claiming DB Darious Williams off the Raven’s waivers. Can Griffin be a sequel?
While statistics don’t tell the whole story, especially when backup QBs’ playing time is made up mostly of mop-up duty, garbage time, and three take-a knees near the end of regulation, his numbers are not bad. Not eye-popping, but not bad. In four games played last year, he took 62 snaps, throwing for 42 yards and rushing for 69 yards with one fumble and two interceptions (when you’re just trying to make something anything happen and Hail Mary-ing it)
Of course, the bugaboo for RG3 is he’s often hurt. He had major reconstructive knee surgery in 2012 and when McVay was his OC, it was only his second year after that major surgery, and the first year he did not wear a knee brace after the surgery.
His NFL journey from Pro Bowler to dust heap and then reinvention is even somewhat well known. After suffering a concussion in the 2015 preseason, Griffin was replaced by Kirk Cousins, who started the rest of that season. Griffin was released by Washington following the end of the season and later signed with the Cleveland Browns. His time with the Browns was also marked with injuries (playing behind a sieve of a porous offensive line, too) he was released after one season. After spending the entire 2017 season as a free agent and out of football, however, Griffin signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2018.
For the last three years, he’s been a good soldier on the Ravens sidelines and the field alike, seeing spot duty, and more importantly, tantalizing flashes of his former self. A capable game manager, who can still, on occasion, tuck and run and someone who makes a defense think twice about whether he’s about to pass or run himself.
Kick the tires
Really, what do the Rams have to lose by giving him a shot? It’s a win-win. And for the likes of dual-threat younger quarterbacks who are filling up the Rams quarterback room, Robert Griffin III is an ideal version of been-there-done-that in terms of NFC Playoff experience.
Maybe McVay can orchestrate a healthy QB competition this season, too – see who emerges from the crucible of a little intense competition. The hottest fire makes the strongest steel kinda thing.
And just look at the fire Jordan Love lit under Aaron Rogers in Green Bay this past season when the Pack drafted the young QB as the heir apparent to the huddle. Can the same fire be lit under Goff?
The critical importance of having a capable backup QB on the roster was never more vividly illustrated than just this last year when the Rams had to rely on totally unproven John Wolford to fill in for an injured Jared Goff just to make it into the playoffs. And he did so admirably.
A good backup QB is kinda like needing a parachute. If it isn’t there the first time, chances are you won’t be needing it again.
Experience in the league – well, it simply matters. That’s a giant leg up for RG3 over Wolford or Perkins in the competition for the Rams backup slot. Bringing in a veteran journeyman, a field general who you can feel comfortable about what you’re going to get from him when he takes the field, well, that just makes good sense.
Really, what do the Rams have to lose by giving him a shot? It could be a win-win.
RG3 has the experience. He knows our coach. Our coach knows him. And he knows McVay’s system – his tendencies, nuances of play-calling. And if all of that weren’t enough, he can be had for a bargain.