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RGIII is running his career into the ground
Future of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is in question.
Matt Slocum/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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THERE IS a reason there are no really successful running quarterbacks in the National Football League.
Let's quickly get past Redskins coach Mike Shanahan's decision not to pull Robert Griffin III from Sunday's playoff game and get to the crux of the matter.
I have yet to hear from anyone except Shanahan and tight end Chris Cooley who thinks Griffin, who was hobbling before the first quarter ended, should have remained in the game.
Shanahan, of course, doesn't want to second-guess himself and Cooley, who wants to come back and play next year, doesn't want to second-guess his coach.
There are, of course, two reasons for sitting Griffin on the bench: first, so he couldn't further damage an already apparently injured knee; and second, so the Redskins have a chance to win.
After all, there were more than 40 other players who deserved an opportunity to move on to the next round of the playoffs. Backup Kirk Cousins had proved he was capable of doing the job.
That said, we must face the real reason that Griffin may not be the Redskins' savior: running quarterbacks last about as long in the NFL as chopped liver does in the July sun.
Take Michael Vick, for example. He's been beaten almost senseless in the NFL and his career seems to be about over.
Running quarterbacks just can't take it. The NFL is not college and pro quarterbacks are not as young as they once were.
In high school, they may have been phenoms and in college they may have been Heisman Trophy candidates. But seven or eight years of getting pounded takes its toll, and by the time these guys get to the NFL, their legs and knees are not what they once were.
It's like professional tennis players whose knees take a beating. Those guys are pretty much finished by the time they're 25--and nobody blindsides them.
Running backs have a hard enough time staying healthy and they run mostly north to south. Quarterbacks often take the snap and run backward, set to throw and then run laterally.
While running backs can lessen the strain on their knees by throwing a shoulder into an oncoming tackler, running quarterbacks usually get pounded from one side or the other if some 240-pound linebacker doesn't cut their legs out from behind.