Robert Griffin III hasn't been shy about voicing his belief that Robert Griffin III should start in the NFL again. His limited performances as a member of the Ravens haven't backed up his boasting, but today, against the best defense in the NFL, RG3 gets a chance to prove himself.
With reigning MVP Lamar Jackson ruled out of today's game against the Steelers (10-0) while on the COVID list, Griffin will start at quarterback for the Ravens (6-4). He started against the Steelers in Week 17 of last season when the Ravens rested Jackson with the No. 1 seed already locked up, which didn't work out as they lost to the Titans in their first playoff game.
While the Ravens beat the Steelers to wrap up the 2019 regular season, Griffin was subpar, completing only 52 percent of his passes for 98 yards with an interception and no touchdowns. He added 50 rushing yards.
Despite that performance, he had this to say in June.
"I want to be a starter again. I'm 30 years old, and quarterbacks are playing into their 40s now. There's a lot of time left to still go achieve all the dreams and goals I set for myself."
He double-downed on that sentiment in September, saying the following:
"I’m not wired to be a backup. I don’t plan on being a backup forever.”
Well RG3, this is your chance to prove it. Better take advantage.
With Jackson only expected to miss one game, this is, barring injury, Griffin's only chance to start this year. He faces a formidable opponent in the Steelers, whose defense gives up the fewest points per game in the NFL, is No. 1 in forcing turnovers and sacks, and gives up the third-fewest yards per game. The Steelers are favored to win by double-digits and continue their march to a perfect 16-0 season.
That's obviously not the opponent you want to make your first meaningful start since 2016 against, but it does provide RG3 with the exact opportunity he needs to prove his words hold meaning. If Griffin can lead the Ravens to an upset win, or if he could put together an eye-opening performance against that defense, I can think of a few teams who would be interested in giving him a chance to start next year.
The 49ers, Broncos, Jets, Jaguars, and Bears all have question marks at quarterback currently and could be in the market for, at minimum, competition for the starting role in 2021. Hell, the Cowboys and Rams might be in the market for a new starter next year depending on what happens with Dak Prescott and Jared Goff this offseason. While all of these teams could also select their hopeful quarterback-of-the-future in next year's draft, RG3 could be brought in on a cheap contract and given an opportunity to start at minimum. At this point in his career, that's the best he can hope for and his performance against the Steelers today will go a long way toward dictating how interested teams are this offseason.
Griffin hasn't been the same quarterback since he tore his ACL in a playoff game to finish off his Rookie of the Year season. He did throw for over 3,200 yards and rushed for nearly 500 in his sophomore season, but his inability to protect the football (17 interceptions, 22 fumbles in his first two years) proved to be his undoing and he has only started 13 games in the five seasons since. His performance in those limited starts hasn't been good either and at this point he needs some positive momentum heading into free agency.
If Griffin wants to be a starter in the NFL again, this is his chance to prove he deserves it. You don't get many opportunities in the NFL and, with so many talented young quarterbacks coming up, this could be his last chance to showcase his ability. If he fails, all that bluster will prove meaningless.