The Black Hole Left by Baseball

The baseball off-season has reach full swing, which means it is now the time where nothing is happening and we are desperately wishing for the return of baseball. Without baseball I have turned desperate. For the first time since game five of the NLDS I went to a live sporting event. It was the Wizards. They did many a Wizards thing in their ninth loss in nine games, but I did notice that Bradley Beal is a great pure shooter. If left open he can make shots. The problem is there is no one on the Wizards that can help him get open. If they had John Wall healthy he could draw defenders while crashing the lane and that would help Beal to be open. How much that helps the Wizards, who right now have D league talent at most positions, is yet to be determined, but at least it will be fun to watch.

Also during this down time of baseball I have been watching RGIII, and if you haven’t yet you should. This kid has given me a new appreciation for football. There is nothing he doesn’t do well, and like his teammate Santana Moss said, put him on the field and he will do something amazing. He has thrown for twelve touchdowns and just three interceptions with a completion percentage of 67.1% which is in the top ten in the NFL and directly behind Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, and his three interception are tied for the lowest of any QB with Tom Brady. RGIII is a rookie, but he is already compiling stats that rank among the best QBs in football.

That isn’t all RGIII can do though. He is tied with CJ Spiller, the running back for the Bills, for the most yards per rushing attempt with 6.6. He has rushed for six touchdowns, the most of any quarterback, and has rushed for 613 yards, also the most of any quarterback. RGIII is the best duel threat QB the NFL has seen since Steve Young, and that is where the problem comes in. Steve Young’s career was hampered by injuries and concussions. Only three times did Steve Young play 16 games in an NFL season and only six out of his 15 year career did he play at least 14.

Steve Young was a great Super Bowl winning Hall of Fame quarterback, but his willingness to leave the pocket and make plays happen with his feet shortened more than half his seasons and quite possibly his career. The history of rushing quarterbacks in the NFL is one of injuries. Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger are both currently injured with different types of injuries that both could have been prevented if they had been more pure pocket passers, but that isn’t who they are. Football is a sport where players will be hit. Even the most pure pocket passer of this generation, Peyton Manning, had to miss the entire 2011 season due to a neck injuries. Football players get hit, and they get hit hard. A quarterback can get hurt just as easily or maybe even more easily on a blindside sack as they can scrambling down the field.

I bring all of this up because there is a movement afoot on one of the DC area sports talk shows to stop RGIII from running. They talk about his running and the team designing runs for him as if it is unique to the coach the Redskins have. Here is a tip for any aspiring coaches out there: coach to the talent you have. Any decent coach would design running plays for RGIII. The idea isn’t to get him hurt. It is simply to use a very dangerous weapon they have at their disposal. Let me repeat this stat for you, RGIII is tied with CJ Spiller for the most rushing yards an attempt with 6.6. RGIII is fast and knows how to run. He also knows that getting hit hurts and that sliding and getting out of bounds is a good thing, but he has a competitive streak and will try and get the first down or score when he is close. RGIII has taken some brutal hits this season, but there is no way he should stop running.

Perhaps my idea of no longer listening to sports talk radio was a good one, but I really thought after a big Redskins win and a 14 for 15 200 yard and 4 touchdown performance by the Redskins and RGIII there would be more positive talk about the team. They play in a weak division and have four games left against weak division foes. If things break right for the Redskins they could finish the season at 9-7 and maybe sneak into the playoffs. A lot has to go right and it is as close to improbable without being impossible that one can get, but it is a lot more fun to listen to than people making up facts about the new dynamic superstar in town because they are of the opinion that there is some magic cure to scrambling quarterbacks getting hurt.

Many people probably want me to know that there is a cure and that is making him a pure pocket passer. While he would still be good that way he wouldn’t be dynamic, he wouldn’t be a superstar, and he wouldn’t be as fun to watch. DC sports fans need to learn to enjoy the few good things we do have. The career of RGIII could be shortened by his running, but it is going to be a better career if he does run than if he doesn’t. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy watching him for the next ten years. The Redskins have a top flight quarterback. As long as they don’t mess it up by not letting RGIII be RGIII this is going to be a fun football team to watch very shortly.