Remember when you were a wee lad and your running joke when somebody would say, “I feel like a million bucks,” was to quickly quip, “Yeah! All green and wrinkly! Nanny nanny poo poo.”
Well I’m all green and wrinkly this week, because I feel like a million bucks. Less than 48 hours removed from the 2012 Washington Redskins opener, and the debut of one Robert Griffin III, I STILL can’t get the smile off of my face.
Let me first clarify something, I am not an optimist – at least not by nature. I’m much more of a pragmatist with a hint of realism for the most part. I take my sports seriously – I take my Redskins even more seriously than that. I believe in supporting your team no matter what, but not necessarily blindly either. I am used to tempering both enthusiasm and malaise as a fan, but alas this week, I cannot temper my enthusiasm. We finally got ourselves an all-world player.
Too soon you say? Sit down! I don’t care if you can’t get much of an idea of Griffin’s career NFL playing stock from one game, there are things you can take immediately from the performance. Things that lend themselves to believing that this isn’t just your garden variety example of a young quarterback having a good start – this is a potential NFL superstar in the making.
First of all, when is he going to look overwhelmed? Not only has it not happened yet, but even when presented with an opportunity to fold like Chinese laundry against the Saints, he didn’t – and the Redskins didn’t. They won the game. They put up 40 points for the first time in 6 years in their first opportunity. RGIII’s first game is on the books. There won’t be any more ‘first game’ jitters. What you saw on Sunday was it. Sure he’ll still have growing pains, but the amazing pressure of the true blue debut is over.
Secondly, when is he going to look young and out of sorts?
He didn’t yesterday – at all. He looked poised, and collected. He led his team like any seasoned veteran quarterback would. He walked up and down the sidelines talking to his team. He was sharp. He commanded the huddles like he was a General. No situation seemed to rattle him. He took it all in stride.
Are you freaking kidding me? He doesn’t even have his ears wet yet.
Thirdly, he doesn’t seem to be even remotely intimidated by the enormous task before him. He is supplanted in a football town starving for victories – mired in filth for decades – and he’s expected to almost single-handedly lead us out of the dessert, and into an oasis. And he KNOWS it. And it doesn’t bother him. And it doesn’t affect his performance – in fact, it fuels him.
Do you have any idea how rare that level of athletic responsibility is? He is mature FAR beyond his years, yes; but it isn’t just his maturity that impresses me, it’s the fact that he is such a born winner. It’s hard to explain or describe, and it’s an intangible that serves a quarterback very well. In fact, one might argue that it’s the difference between a quarterback and a franchise quarterback. He doesn’t think twice about the fact that the Redskins have NO business walking into New Orleans, playing a considerably better team (most ‘experts’ thought beforehand) that was additionally motivated to play well given the offseason Bounty scandal, and basically the Redskins just handed it to them, with a greenhorn leading the way. Griffin just expects to win. Regardless of the situation. Every time. That’s so special.
It’s his confidence within that makes every fan SURE that every pass is going to be a successful completion. That we can march down a field and score. That we can win A game. That we can win several games. Heck, that we could win ANY game. Certainly in due time, if not sooner.
Born winners make it tough to accept losing – for everybody.
Fourthly, and lastly, how about the athletic ability on the kid? Throw away whatever superlatives you can find, he’s about to invent new ones. He moves like greased lightning, but somehow, every step seems so calculated and efficient. Already. What happens when he figures things out?
Right now, I feel like the kid that just cracked open the GIANT present under the Christmas tree. As a kid, you know when you start opening that present that it can go one of two ways – it can be the most awesome of presents – or it can be a dud that just happens to be big – making it a big dud. The latter can be so disappointing, but yet it happens as often as the former.
Sunday morning I opened up the big present and found the most awesome of presents, in the biggest of boxes.
It’s hard to describe or tell RedskinsNation what it feels like to flush 20 years of quarterback malaise down the toilet, in just one game.
But I definitely feel, All Green and Wrinkly.
More By Mark Solway
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