Redskins should've turned to Cousins
When the NFL Playoffs started last Saturday (Jan. 5) in Houston, television cameras spotted Earl Campbell in the stands. Now 57, the Houston Oilers/New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame running back stood up, with the help of his aluminum walker, because his knees aren't that good anymore.
Have you ever had a debilitating knee injury?
Years ago, after blowing the ACL in my right knee on Peak 10 in Breckenridge, while walking down the street in Frisco, I slipped on some sand. No big deal, but when the main ligament that holds your knee together isn't there, you pinch the heck out of your miniscus, scuff bone on bone, and hit the pavement.
Hitting the pavement doesn't hurt. The pain occurs when your knee gives out.
My injury took place at the top of Arapahoe Basin in December, meaning I missed the entire ski season of 1998. After months of rehab, it was time for surgery to rebuild my knee, then a few more months of rehab to get ready for the '99 ski season.
All that went through my mind in the second-and-a-half it took for Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III to hit the turf in the fourth quarter of Sunday's playoff game against Seattle.
Griffin's knee wasn't blown, but it had been injured weeks before and re-injured in the first quarter of Sunday's game. He could barely run, and it affected his passing (Griffin threw for only 25 yards after being injured in the first quarter).
Throughout the game, Fox commentator Troy Aikman remarked Griffin was a non-factor for the Redskins, whose 14-0 lead -- thanks to a pair of Griffin touchdown passes in the first quarter -- vanished because of his ineffectiveness en route to a 24-14 defeat.
Washington Coach Mike Shanahan could've pulled Griffin in favor of Kirk Cousins, and he finally did -- after Griffin crumpled to the ground and couldn't get up. But it was too late for Cousins to save the day. Had he come in to start the second half, Cousins could've gotten into a rhythm and maybe made a difference. But RG3 kept telling Shanahan he could play, and Shanahan continued to send him onto the field.
Washington could've won the game, and if the Redskins had, then the talk today would've been about Reed Doughty -- the 2001 graduate of Roosevelt High School -- who with his team clinging to a 14-13 lead chased down Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and tackled him for a loss, which would have been the play of the game.
But instead, Redskins fans are left to wonder ... what if Cousins had been able to save the day, what if linebacker London Fletcher could've been a difference maker like Doughty was, and what if Griffin suffered a knee injury from which he will never be the same.