Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III says he’s fully recovered from knee surgery and just as fast as ever. But teammate Pierre Garcon says there’s no way Griffin can be the same player as long as he’s wearing the knee brace that he didn’t wear last year but does wear this year.
Garcon said on ESPN 980 that the offense is the same as it was last year, but that defenses recognize that Griffin won’t be the same threat running the ball.
“Robert obviously can’t run as fast as he did last year because of his knee brace and his knee, but it’s the same offense, to be honest with you. It’s nothing different. It hasn’t changed at all,” Garcon said, via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post.
Of course, if Griffin can’t run as fast, the offense has changed. Last year Griffin carried 120 times for 815 yards and seven touchdowns. This year Griffin has nine carries for 25 yards and no touchdowns. Obviously, that’s a major difference.
And although Garcon says the offense “hasn’t changed at all,” he does believe the brace on Griffin’s knee changes Griffin as a player.
“Well, when you’re walking around with a knee brace or playing with a knee brace, obviously it’s slowing you down a little bit,” Garcon said. “It’s just natural. It’s common. . . . I don’t know how much it weighs, exactly, but you always think about it when you have it on there, and it’s a constant reminder. It’s not gonna let you be the guy you are without the knee brace. When you have something around your knees – the more equipment you have on, it’s obviously distracting you or slowing you down from being as free as loose as yourself without any equipment on.”
Griffin can be an effective passer even without a running threat, but what really made Griffin special as a rookie is that he was probably the best athlete we’ve ever seen play the quarterback position, an athlete who could have been an Olympic hurdler if he hadn’t decided to focus on football. Without that athleticism, Griffin is not the same player, and Washington does not have the same offense.