Question on RG3

A lot has been made on how RG3’s ability has diminished after his rookie season. How much of that is because of his knee injury during the playoff game on that godawful field? Has his knee fully recovered or maybe he’s gunshy to play like he did before the injury?

Another view is that shared by Chris Cooley, former Washington Redskins TE, and now a football analyst and radio talk show guy for ESPN 980 in the DC area. At least in the Washington Post articles I’ve read that have summarized Cooley’s comments, RG3 makes too many mental errors that are simply unacceptable for a professional quarterback, regardless of whether his knee is fine or not. From the second link:

Now Cooley may have just been trying to make a name for himself, and I certainly lack the football acumen to determine how much truth was in his observations,(I’m interested in what some of you guys think about them) but I remember thinking when I read it that it was the coldest, most naked stripping of an athlete’s performance that I’ve ever read. It makes me not want to take a chance on RG3. You can come back from a knee injury (or two); I don’t think you can come back from making multiple fundamental mistakes, over and over.

I think it all comes from the knee injury. It’s not uncommon for a knee to never bee 100% again, even after reconstruction. Mine never was. And if you’re playing football, being overprotective of that knee is going to make you do stupid things you would not have done before. I think he’ll never be the player he was because he’ll never have complete confidence in his body again.

The knee injury certainly didn’t help, however that’s not why he’s failed at playing quarterback in the NFL. Had he not been injured and was willing to continue running the option-heavy offense the Shanaclan implemented for him his rookie year, he maybe could have sustained at least some further success.

However, the injury, not to mention his father, convinced RG3 that he needed to become a pocket passer to protect both his body and his long-term career. It was not a terrible idea, but unfortunately it turns out he is simply not capable of being that type of quarterback, at least as demonstrated by the evidence on hand. The spread offense he thrived in at Baylor and the very basic single-read play-action-option offense the Shanaclan installed for him was brilliant, but once he had to read a defense, take snaps under center, take 3/5/7-step drops, go through a receiver progression, or even when and how to slide properly, he simply doesn’t have those tools. Granted the last time he saw the field was this past preseason, but it was still apparent he could not do any of those things.

I’m not saying he’s not a smart man or he’s incapable of ever doing it, but as far as NFL-style-pocket-passer-quarterbacking goes, he’s still extremely raw, even now, 5 years in. After getting the ball, his instinct almost immediately is to take off and run. Not even to scramble outside the pocket and look for a receiver, he commits to running right away and is determined to get every millimeter he can, something that may be admirable in a runner, but it is just the worst possible thing you can do as a franchise quarterback.

Until I see otherwise, I think he’s done as an effective starter in the NFL. May not even be a viable backup. Nothing I’ve seen since 2012 has indicated he’s capable of it.