Other than being healthy enough to start all 11 games thus far, Robert Griffin III has struggled through a highly disappointing sophomore season in the NFL. He and his Washington team suffered another frustrating hit on Monday night, in a 27-6 loss to the 49ers that dropped Washington to 3-8 on the season.
Griffin threw for a season-low 127 yards in the game, behind an offensive line that often hung him out to dry against San Francisco's pass rush. He also rushed for just 22 yards, the sixth time in 2013 he's finished a game below the quarter-century mark.
And at least one San Francisco player argued after that effort that Griffin should not even be on the field.
"He's obviously a man and he makes his own decisions, but I personally don’t feel he should be playing right now," linebacker Ahmad Brooks said, according to CSNWashington. "I don’t think he should be playing. You can see it. Everybody can see it, everybody can see it."
Griffin and the Washington coaching staff have struggled to get on the same page this season. RGIII said after last week's loss to the Eagles -- another in which the offense could not progress out of neutral -- that Philadelphia's D "knew what was coming," a comment many took as a thinly veiled shot at coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
Mike Silver reported on the NFL Network Sunday that "there is a lot of air to be cleared" between Griffin and the Shanahans (Kyle and head coach Mike). “This is real," Silver said. "RGIII has expressed to teammates his dissatisfaction with Mike Shanahan and this could be coming to a head."
Amid all this, the cries from Washington's fan base for a QB change have been ever increasing. Backup Kirk Cousins, he of the clutch late-season relief win in 2012, has thrown just nine passes this season. But be it to push Griffin or to raise Cousins' trade value, many Redskins fans have clamored for the Michigan State product to assume the reins.
"We look at everybody," Mike Shanahan said Monday night when asked if the Redskins staff would re-evaluate the QB situation. "Everybody wants to talk about the quarterback, and we understand the quarterback position is dependent on a lot of different positions on the team. There's always going to be growing pains ... nothing's automatic in the National Football League with the quarterback."
Washington now finds itself a full three games back of the NFC East lead and fading fast. Making matters worse, because of the trade to move up for Griffin last year, the Redskins are without a first-round pick in 2014.
So, there may not be any easy answers forthcoming for Shanahan or Griffin. Benching Griffin would threaten to derail any progress he might make from here through Week 17. But as Brooks was quick to point out, Washington is not progressing much right now with RGIII at the helm.