If The Broncos Want To Defend Their Title They Need To Sign RG3
What a difference a month makes.
Despite retaining Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, the Denver Broncos are a far cry from the team that stymied Cam Newton’s Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
Just two days after the emotional retirement of Peyton Manning, his presumed successor has skipped town. Why would Brock Osweiler deny a chance at back-to-back championships you ask? Because someone in Houston got all giddy over his 11 career touchdowns and ability to evade pizza shop scuffles and decided to pay him $72 million.
Which leaves Denver’s offense in the hands of Trevor Siemian. A man who threw as many interceptions in his senior season at Northwestern as Osweiler’s thrown touchdowns in the NFL. A man whose last name must have made middle school living hell. A man who literally has fewer total yards (minus one) than all of us who haven’t so much as stepped foot on a professional football field.
Of course, there’s no reality in which Denver would begin the season with Siemian under center. Though the very fact that it’s even come to this point must be a hard pill to swallow for the reigning champions. So much so that players like Miller are already voicing their opinions.
While bringing Johnny Manziel to a state in which marijuana is legal is a terrible idea, signing a mobile quarterback is not. Enter: Robert Griffin III.
Let’s face it, RG3 isn’t the most talented quarterback the league has ever seen. By no means would a change of scenery magically revert Griffin back to the electrifying rookie poised to take the NFL by storm.
However, we’d be remiss to dismiss Griffin as a draft bust just yet, as the primary reasons for his stunted development were out of his control. He got injured because that’s a thing that happens when you get paid to get tackled for a living not because he’s “fragile,” and he was drafted by the Washington Redskins, which is the NFL equivalent of a black hole.
Even if Ryan Clady returns, Denver’s offensive line won’t be a cure-all for Griffin’s injury woes. In fact it doesn’t matter how good the offensive line is because, again, injuries are inevitable when 300-pound men are bum-rushing you for their next paycheck. So, let’s focus on the latter of Griffin’s kryptonites: getting the fuck out of Washington.
Escaping the wrath of Dan Snyder to be under John Elway’s tutelage is perhaps the best thing that could happen to RG3. Actually, their careers are eerily similar.
A stellar two-sport athlete, Elway played both baseball and football at Stanford. Not to be outdone, Griffin ran track at Baylor when he wasn’t on the gridiron. Both players were consensus All-Americans in their senior seasons before being selected atop their NFL draft classes at No. 1 and No. 2 overall respectively. Elway was viewed as a savior when he arrived in the mile-high city, just as Griffin was when he arrived in the nation’s capital. Not convinced?
Mike Shanahan was the head coach of the Denver Broncos when Elway retired. Yes, the same Mike Shanahan that was the head coach of the Redskins when RG3 began his career. In his first four seasons Elway went to the Pro Bowl just once, which of course is the same amount of Pro Bowls Griffin has been to in his first four years. Oh, and talk about knee problems. John Elway played his entire career without an ACL.
Of course, Elway’s career was never nearly as tumultuous as Griffin’s has been. However, it did take him 15 years to win his first Super Bowl which is exactly the kind of sticktoitiveness that RG3 could learn from.
Elway aside, Griffin would have plenty of weapons to work with and a formidable defense to lean on. Second-year coach Gary Kubiak is of the quarterback coaching ilk, as is offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. The two of which, plus current quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp, would provide the additional guidance that a wayward Griffin so desperately needs.
Following in Peyton Manning’s footsteps won’t be easy. But under the tutelage of Elway, RG3 is ready to return to glory.
A version of this story was originally published on March 10, 2016 on Slant.