Silly me for thinking I was the mad genius. The elephant in the the Washington Redskins’ room has been the appearance that Robert Griffin III will simply never develop into a quarterback that can justify the king’s ransom in draft picks they sent to the St. Louis Rams a couple of years ago to get him. It just seems that nobody wanted to say the obvious. “It probably ain’t working…”
Then along comes ESPN’s John Keim, who would know better than most, with this article.
Immediately, I cackle to myself. Wouldn’t it be great if the Rams traded for him? As a Rams fan, I don’t actually want this to happen. But as someone who adores satire and unintentional comedy, it would be classic, wouldn’t it? I’m a genius! Let me brag to everyone…
Of course, nobody informed me that Grantland’s Bill Barnwell had already published this beauty. It’s a fun read, but probably should have been confined to the top five, rather than top ten, as a few of the teams listed are wholly unreastic.
So spoiler alert, the Rams are Barnwell’s most likely destination for RGIII to end up. It makes sense because Sam Bradford and his obscene price tag won’t be back after nearly two full seasons lost to injury. Shaun Hill is an adequate back up, but nobody’s idea of a starting quarterback for a team with playoff aspirations in 2015. And Austin Davis, the early season darling of Rams fans, proved he has the competitive spirit to be a leader but the physical tools best suited to be the guy with the clipboard.
In addition, it’s unlikely the Rams will be able to draft their next starting quarterback. Despite a general dearth of competence at nearly every level of leadership, there’s enough talent on the roster to keep them from having a record bad enough that nets a top draft pick. Immediately, that removes them from the running for guys like Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston.
There won’t be a lot in the free agent pool as far as quarterbacks go, so a trade is the most likely scenario, leaving Griffin and probably Jay Cutler as the only feasible targets. Cutler is a turnover machine and is owed a Brinks truck in gold boullion in salary so he’s out. That leaves Griffin. Essentially, that would mean the Rams got something like Greg Robinson, Alec Ogletree, Michael Brockers, and Janoris Jenkins for whatever conditional mid-round pick it would cost them to bring Griffin to St. Louis. (or Los Angeles, for that matter)
As entertaining as the notion is, here’s why it would end badly. First, all indicators so far in Griffin’s admittedly brief career are that he would need to be in an offense tailored to his skillset. He’s a gifted athlete with a cannon for an arm, but it’s pretty clear at this point he will never be the Michael Vick/Peyton Manning hybrid some envisioned him to be. Still, in the right system, he can thrive. Well, Brian Schottenheimer is one of the most brutally awful offensive coordinators in this history of offensive coordinator being an actual gig. Without any shadow of a doubt, you could reassign Schottenheimer to a position he’s qualified for, say…cotton candy vendor, and have whomever is in at quarterback make every play call at the line, and the offense would improve exponentially.
For perspective, there was a three game span in 2013 where the Rams actually started to get the ball to their most dynamic playmaker by far, Tavon Austin, and resembled a good NFL offense, even with Kellen Clemens at quarterback. Then, it appeared, Schottenheimer panicked because something his offense was doing worked, and immediately abandoned all future plans to get Austin the ball. It is now 13 weeks into the 2014 season, and Austin remains on the distant periphery of the Rams’ offensive game plan.
Secondly, for all of their flaws, the Rams are stocked with clubhouse leadership. Veterans like James Laurinaitas, Robert Quinn, Chris Long and others don’t tolerate any “me first” nonsense, and Griffin with his perpetual soap opera would in all likelihood be ostracized in short order.
But still…it would be hilarious, wouldn’t it?