Rolle: RG III taking ‘too many brutal hits’

Updated: December 3, 2013, 2:29 PM ET


By
John Keim | ESPN.com


Antrel Rolle didn’t say Robert Griffin III shouldn’t be playing or wasn’t healthy. Other opponents have said that about the Washington Redskins quarterback.

But the New York Giants safety did point out something else: Griffin gets hit an awful lot. Quite hard at times, in fact.

The Giants beat the Redskins 24-17 on Sunday night as Griffin was hit 16 times, though that includes several shoves out of bounds. Eleven of those hits occurred in the second half. Griffin was hit six times after carrying on zone-read options, though three were shoves out of bounds.

Still, there were hard hits Sunday. On a third-and-1 sneak, Giants linebacker Jon Beason drilled Griffin running off right tackle and knocked him backward and to the ground. Also, Rolle popped Griffin as he was trying to block on a reverse.

“I think that guy takes too many brutal hits. As far as whether he gets hit going out of bounds, whether he’s causing himself to hit the ground extremely hard or whether he’s just getting hit by opponents, he does take a lot of hits,” Rolle said on SportsNet New York. “That’s something RG III has to look forward to in his career, and he has to probably make some different decisions. But I can’t worry about RG III as far as him getting hit. As an opponent, it’s my job to go out there and hit him and disrupt him as much as you can.

“He’s a great quarterback. We all know he brings his game. But as far as him taking brutal hits, you can’t close your eyes to that fact.”

Griffin has run the ball more in the second half of the season, as confidence in his surgically repaired right knee has increased.

This is the second consecutive week an opponent has commented on Griffin’s game.

After San Francisco beat Washington 27-6 in Week 12, 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks told CSN Washington, “I don’t think he should be playing. You can see it. Everybody can see it. Everybody can see it. … He’s a man. He has the heart of a warrior and is going to go out there and play regardless of the circumstance. Everybody can see it. Everybody can see it. He shouldn’t be playing.”

Griffin and the Redskins have maintained he’s healthy, but the coaches acknowledge that he’s also not as explosive as he was a year ago and is enduring growing pains while developing as a pocket passer. That, too, has led to him getting hit, sometimes because he holds the ball too long — whether from indecision or waiting for receivers to break open — and other times because the protection breaks down.

  • Covered the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and other media outlets since 1994
  • Authored or co-authored three books on the Redskins and one on the Cleveland Browns

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