***** As published in RVA Mag *****
[WARNING: I will be using the term “R-Words” throughout this article because I have no idea what’s right anymore]
R-Words players in suits filed onto the two team buses in the Minneapolis morning chill. Police squad cars bracketed the proud caravan escorting the Burgundy and Gold to their next gridiron meeting against the Vikings. As they chugged their way onto the interstate, players began to mentally prepare for the game. Dozens of Beats headsets donned football players heads in unison.
“Everybody got their eye makeup?!” yelled third-string quarterback Kirk Cousins, standing at the front of the bus. Cousins is always looking for ways to stay useful to the team, even if they are intangible.
“Man, it’s eye black!” DeSean Jackson yelled back, much to the rest of the team’s glee.
“I just didn’t want to offend anyone,” said Cousins under the laughter. To change the subject, he presented an arm wrapped in black and white wires. “Now, guys, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times. You’ve got to remember your chargers. There was at least one in every hotel room.”
Everyone stared at him blankly, their music now blocking out outside sound.
“Can someone ask Pierre in French, please?” said Cousins, eyes wide in the direction of the Haitian-American receiver, Pierre Garcon. “Charg-air! Charg-air!” Cousins annunciated.
Cousins shook his head.
“Going once, going… aw screw it,” said Cousins, sitting down in the seat behind the driver alone and pulling out his phone, “I’ll just have to call everyone’s wives. They are not going to like this.”
Apart from Cousins, only four passengers were not listening to Beats headphones. At the back of the bus, Brian Orakpo, recently placed on injured reserve, could be overheard talking on the phone.
“Yeah, out for the season again,” Orakpo said, nodding his head, then carefully annunciated: “Torn pec. Yeah, it’s just something that happens with the they get too big.”
Coach Gruden was also on the phone.
“Yes, sir. As you wish. Robert is definitely playing,” he said, nodding, “Of course that’s what I want, sir. You haven’t talked me into anything. I was already planning to– Yup. I can work on the Chucky face. Jon’s been teaching how to do it. I wouldn’t worry yourself about that.”
At the front of the bus, Robert Griffin III and his fullback, Darrell Young, were chatting.
“Not sure who to start in fantasy this week,” Griffin said to Young, looking down at his phone. “I’m having to scramble because Aaron Rodgers is on a bye.”
“Well, who you got?” asked Young.
“Really scraping at the bottom of the barrel here,” said Griffin, “I have Teddy Bridgewater and RGIII.”
“You mean you?”
“Me what?” said Griffin, looking over at Young like he had glasses on the end of his nose.
“I mean you…,” said Young, “have a tough one there. Bridgewater’s a rookie, but he’s got promise. But you have to think RGIII is going to have a killer return, right?”
Young laughed and looked at RGIII as if there was some joke they shared together. Griffin didn’t seem to get the message.
“I don’t know,” said Griffin, “he just hasn’t been the same since the injury.”
“Which one?” said Young.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Griffin shot at Young, turning and squinting at him.
“Nothing, I thought we were…”
“I’m going to go with Bridgewater,” Griffin said, “I think Washington’s good game on defense against Dallas last week was a bit flukey. Lot of injuries in the secondary. And you just don’t know what RGIII is going to do after the injury and not getting first team reps for over a month.”
“Sounds reasonable,” Young found himself saying, now unsure how to play it.
“So, you’re going to take I-35?” shouted Cousins to the driver, as he held out his phone. “Really would recommend taking a back road at this point. Looks to be lots of traffic.”
The bus driver didn’t respond.
“Okay, I just texted the policeman in front,” said Cousins, “Really should have let me ride with him. He should be getting it right–”
The bus in front of their bus broke hard and what ensued was embarrassing. Dozens of professional football players screamed as loud as they could, and at a higher a pitch than should be possible. Each passenger’s life flashed before his eyes as the bus encroached upon the guard rail, over which was a cliff. If listened to closely, over the screeching tires, the breaking of glass, and the screaming men, a few individuals could be seen and heard.
Brian Orakpo held his pecs.
“Gruden rules!” chanted someone. “Gruden rules! Gruden rules!”
“Sac le bleu!” Cousins yelled, who had always been obsessed with making sure Pierre Garcon understood what was going on even in the last moments of his life.
“Mother f*****!” yelled Garcon.
In an instant the bus jarred to a stop and fifty Beats headphones were flung over the cliff out of the windshield, which had broken in half. After the bus was still and the dust had settled, the passengers sat and breathed heavily.
“Everyone alright?” said Coach Gruden, as he stood up.
“Robert!” screamed someone at the front of the bus.
Through the accident, everyone had remained buckled into their seats, except for one. There, near the front of the bus, laid Robert Griffin III, from what they could tell. His body was bent backwards, arched over the headrest of his seat. His right leg had poked a hole in the the window and was resting there nicely, while his left foot was pointed up, stuck in the overhead compartment. His upside down head was looking directly at DeSean Jackson, who sat behind him. His eyes were white, as they had rolled back into his head.
“Robert!” screamed Cousins again, “Don’t die! Unless…”
Cousins looked to see if Colt McCoy was dead too. He wasn’t, so he turned back to Griffin.
“I’m fine, guys,” said upside down Robert, as he contorted himself back into a standing position. “Wow, you guys look really worried. I get it, I get it. Franchise quarterback.”
“Well, you looked dead,” said Coach Gruden.
“Yeah, your body was like bent in half, the wrong way,” said Garcon, “It looked like it you broken bones in a thousand places.”
“Nope,” said Griffin, “I’m good.”
Cousins covered his mouth with both his hands, staring at Garcon as if he was a ghost.
“The accident must have rewired my brain,” he said, “I can speak French!”
For a second, everyone thought the horrible smell was the burnt rubber, but a collective, “Aw man!” could be heard as the entire bus realized what it was and covered their noses. Cousins’ face grew red instantly, and he slipped out of the front of the bus unnoticed, because as everyone knows, when he lays one captain’s log, several are to follow.
3-6, again. It feels like coming home, like an annual holiday. Hey, when’s 3-6 Day this year? It’s the most wonderful time of the year because anything can happen. After 3-6 Day in 2012, the R-Words won out. After 3-6 Day in 2013, the R-Words lost out. Both times RGIII was the quarterback, and both times the defense was terrible. Both were losses, and both were extremely confusing. How could RGIII not play on 3-6 Day in 2014? That’s probably what Dan Snyder told Jay Gruden.
This week, and as it happens, the rest of this season, is all about Griffin, so expect nothing about anyone else the rest of this article.
Reasons for Depression
It’s hard to remember what it was like to love watching Robert Griffin III. It seems like a childhood memory now, so blurry and blissful, and ever so long ago. His rookie year was a ball, almost like a first love. It’s balls to the wall excitement, until someone gets hurt. Now, there are so many emotions that hit the bloodstream when Griffin drops back. In many ways, we hate him, because as much as we are mad at him for not fulfilling the prophecy that he was the chosen one, he also makes us worry about his health. RGIII has a million worried-sick mothers holding their hands daintily to their chests when he drops back, and especially when he gets hit. To make matters worse, he gets sacked into the most ridiculous contorted positions you ever did see. The fact that his last injury was when nobody was touching him makes many of his sacks look like he’s being murdered. He lays there for a extra few seconds to begin the worrying process. Then he gets up limping with his knees bending the wrong way, and walks back to the huddle as his legs heal themselves bending more and more correctly with every step. I’m starting to wonder if he is actually an elderly person who was the recipient of a spell to make him into a young athlete, but it got interrupted halfway through.
Griffin threw two crucial incompletions, both at the end of each half. The first incompletion resulted in an interception with a minute left in the first half. This, the Vikings turned into a touchdown, and instead of going into halftime with a 10-0 lead, Griffin put the Vikings back into the game at 10-7. The second was not an easy throw, but it could have been made. With two minutes left in the game, down by three, Pierre Garcon was open on a slant over the middle on fourth down and Griffin missed him. More importantly, however, the throw should have been avoided. Griffin should have run for the first down. He was already on the move and had open space in front of him, but he seems to not know when to run anymore. No matter how many times the defense failed to hold the Vikings in the second half, Griffin had a chance to win the game, and he didn’t do it. The difference between 4-5 and 3-6 could be one of the biggest swings in all record comparisons.
Reasons for Hope (Poison)
RGIII looked as good as we’ve seen him since 2012. His two deep throws to DeSean Jackson were on the money. The miracle time-creating scrambles we used to see him conjure were conjured. The 24-yard check down to Roy Helu Jr. after his juke and scramble in the first half was magical.
RGIII led the R-Words to 26 points. Washington hadn’t cracked 20 points since Kirk Cousins was playing well in Week 3 against Philly. Even in victory against Dallas, the R-Words only scored 17 points in regulation. Colt McCoy, like RGIII, had also thrown a costly interception in the first half of that game. The difference was that the defense did their job in that game. If the defense had come to play in the second half against Minnesota, the narrative on RGIII’s return would be totally different. R-Words fans would have come away thinking RGIII is just shaking off rust and showed enough promise to build on. Instead, dolts are still calling for Colt.
No matter who is right, the R-Words have to see if Griffin can play. He is the only quarterback on the roster that has shown he can be great in the NFL. The other two must wait their turn. Cousins got his, and McCoy may still yet, but RGIII needs to prove he’s not the guy. Don’t worry, Colt fans, you may still get your wish, but it will be in logical order.
Week 10 Outlook