Thirteen additional rushing yards wouldn't seem like such a risk for a quarterback with 735 of them already on his rookie odometer. But when you're what NFL personnel types call a "lane" runner instead of a more elusive one, the risks are higher. Such was the case for Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III when he raced 13 yards around the left side against Baltimore in Week 14 of the 2012 season.
Linebacker Paul Kruger hit Griffin low, upending him and sending Griffin's legs hurtling into the path of a 340-pound human wrecking ball. Nose tackle Haloti Ngata finished the tackle, sending Griffin's leg whipping around the other direction. A sprained LCL was the diagnosis, and the knee obviously wasn't right when the LCL and ACL ruptured against Seattle in the playoffs four weeks later.
Every quarterback can be vulnerable, and Griffin isn't the first one to scramble, but it's his running style, not necessarily the running itself, that makes his dual-threat persona unsustainable. "He is not going to make you miss," a high-ranking personnel evaluator told me. "Some of these other quarterbacks can shake a guy or make a move."
Transitioning to a more conventional offense under new coach Jay Gruden is a smart long-term move, but it also raises the very real possibility that the NFL has already seen the best Griffin has to offer before his 25th birthday. That's a risky thing to say when assessing a young player with Griffin's physical gifts, but it doesn't rule out his ability to succeed as an NFL starter, either. Far from it.
Below, we consider how Griffin can get where he needs to go in one piece, and some of the factors that could ultimately hold him back.