A year ago, former Redskins quarterback and current ESPN analyst Mark Brunell believed that current Redskins QB Robert Griffin III would successfully complete the transition from being a scrambling quarterback to being more of a pocket passer.
“He can get there. He’s one of the best young quarterbacks in the league and he got there because he’s a great athlete and he’ll be coached well,” Brunell said in May of 2014. “He’ll be fine. Other young quarterbacks couldn’t get to that point. He won’t be one of those guys. He’s smart.”
Griffin struggled in his first season in new coach Jay Gruden’s system. He hesitated when the should have pulled the trigger, looked to scramble when he should have hung in the pocket, and generally looked like a fish out of water.
Fast forward to this week and we find that Brunell has changed his tune on Griffin’s future.
“There were a series of things that were wrong with RGIII, and it really starts with his fundamentals,” Brunell said on “NFL Live” via the Washington Post. “Unfortunately for the young quarterback, he has gone backwards.”
Host Stephen A. Smith asked him if he thought that Griffin could overcome his issues and become a successful NFL quarterback.
“I do not,” Brunell replied.
So nine games and 214 pass attempts were enough to prompt Brunell to change his opinion on Griffin’s future a full 180 degrees. Yes, Griffin did look bad at times (a lot of the time, in fact) but let’s consider sample size here. He threw about a third the number of passes that league leaders Drew Brees and Matt Ryan did and less than half of what Blake Bortles and Alex Smith threw.
It appears that Brunell overrated Griffin’s chances for success a year ago and now he is underrating his chances. After all, this is sports talk where the “hot take” rules. “He’ll make the Pro Bowl” is a hot take. So is “he’ll fall flat on his face.”
But “let’s wait and see how this plays out” doesn’t cut it even though it’s usually the right stance to take. Such statements will have ESPN or whoever is employing the analyst looking through resumes and audition tapes for a replacement who will deliver the hot takes.
The truth is that a year ago there was no certainty that Griffin would eventually succeed. Today there is no certainty that he will not.