“A lot of fans aren’t happy about the SS Shutdown either, Stephen”
I can picture it now.
The Redskins have just beaten the Giants in week 13 at FedEx Field on Monday Night Football, 28-10.
It’s been a magical season so far for the Skins. RG3 has been everything coaches and fans could have hoped for and the defense has been stellar.
We all knew the Redskins were headed in the right direction, but nobody had any idea they’d be this good, this fast. After their big win against Eli and the Giants, the Redskins sit atop the NFC East. In fact, they sit atop the entire NFC at 9-3.
They’re a game away from clinching a playoff berth and are in the driver’s seat for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. It seems like it could be one of those seasons for the team- a legitimate shot at a Super Bowl that doesn’t come around very often.
But there’s a catch.
You see last year at Baylor, RG3 tore a muscle in his throwing shoulder. He rehabbed and even finished out the season strong, but Bruce Allen knew after talking to as many doctors as would answer his phone calls that at some point Griffin’s arm was going to get tired. Allen knew that in order to keep the Skins prized possession healthy for the long haul he’d have to make a very difficult decision- regardless of how the season was going.
He was going to have to shut his rookie quarterback down after 12 games.
Obviously this is a theoretical situation, but does it sound familiar?
It should, as the Nationals shutting their young ace Stephen Strasburg down after a set number of innings this season has been the talk of the town (country for that matter) for weeks.
And while I’m not necessarily here to debate whether it’s right or wrong- I thought I’d share the RG3 angle that I brought up to a friend of mine who was adamently against the Nats shutting Strasburg down.
“I don’t know that there’s any less chance he wouldn’t blow out his arm next year anyways” he told me regarding Strasburg.
But what if the roles were reversed? What if it was the Redskins golden arm that was at risk after a major surgery instead?
Would he feel differently about shutting him down?
“Absolutely not. There are no guarantees in sports.”
His points are valid. It’s a sticky situation.
Now are the two situations exactly the same? Of course not. But are they close enough to make you think a little bit? I think so.
The Nats are tops in the NL- tops in all of baseball right now in fact at 72-44. And yet the team has been steadfast in their decision to shut Strasburg down. And a lot of the fan base isn’t happy with it.
But could you imagine the reaction of Redskins Nation if RG3 was shut down similarly- even with full warning?
Would the fans understand the risk of re-injury based on his recent surgery? Or would they view a 9-3 start and the chance for home field advantage in the playoffs too good of an opportunity to pass up?
While I said I wasn’t here to debate whether the shutdown was right or wrong, I can say that I have come to grips and do ultimately agree with the decision (not like I have a choice either obviously).
If you listened to our show last week, you know I was blamed for potentially “coddling” RG3 for only wanting him out there for a few snaps in the pre-season opener. So naturally, I’d have to think I’d be onboard with taking the safer, long-term approach if he was dealing with a similar injury situation as Strasburg.
It certainly wouldn’t be easy seeing Rex Grossman back under center of a 9-3 playoff bound team, but I’d know it was for the best.
“Would there be a bigger punch to the gut than the Nats shutting Strasburg down, losing in the first round of the playoffs, then having him blow out his arm early in the 2013 season?” my friend also asked me.
I told him there was- NOT shutting him down, STILL losing in the first round of the playoffs and having him blow out his arm BECAUSE he wasn’t shut down.
A sports organization has a duty to protect its assets while giving the team its best chance to win now and in the future.
The fans wants to win now AND in the future also. But when nothing is guaranteed, good or bad, I can’t argue with my favorite team going the “better safe than sorry route” with their most prized assets.
You just have to hope they don’t end up safe AND sorry.