As Coach Shanahan sits at the poker table, he looks to avoid the pistol’s ricochet to cash in on Washington’s young guns.
The Washington Redskins nabbed a prized rookie on the flop of last year’s NFL Draft in the person of Robert Griffin III. Coming in as the 2nd pick, the former Baylor University Heisman Trophy winner sparked Redskins fans’ interest with his poker player-like aggressiveness when it comes to his stellar play during their seven-game winning streak to end the 2012-2013 NFL season. This led to the new wave of Washington Redskins sports memorabilia from pool tables and cue sticks; to felt tables and poker chips. And ironically this off-season, RG3 seems to be sitting at a poker table with his coach Mike Shanahan contemplating about the extent of his knee injury and their plans on whether to continue their ultra aggressive style of going all-in on every game, or shift down to a more conservative approach. To a lot of fans, these are some of the vital things Coach Shanahan has to consider before throwing in his Washington Redskins chips into the pot.
Like the game of poker, football involves a lot of strategy and fine-tuning in order to be successful. Its coaches are just some of the best sports minds the world has ever seen, comparable to that of a highly-skilled retired soldier preparing for a war against a horde of zombies in World War Z, or even a sly and mischievous online player ready to dive in the dangerous waters of Partypoker.com to compete with the cyber world’s best. And Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan is no exception. Spearheaded by the rookie pair of aces in Griffin III and athletic running back Alfred Morris, Coach Shanahan’s Redskins led the NFL in rushing last season with an average of 169 yards per game. The team employed the pistol formation in their offense which led to more exciting and even more daunting offensive attacks. Similar to the I-formation, the Redskins was firing from all cylinders – making Mike Shanahan look like poker star Gus Hansen constantly taking a stab at the pot of a World Series of Poker final table. With Morris lined up behind RG3, the offensive team’s running attack became more flexible and efficient. Despite starting the season poorly, the Washington Redskins’ brand of offense provided a spark in bagging the NFC East division, their first since 1999. Though the team has still a lot to prove in terms of their passing game – finishing 20th in yards per game, Robert Griffin III showed flashes of brilliance and potential as a dual-threat quarterback, throwing 3,200 yards, with 20 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. His stats were amongst the best in the NFL. RG3 had a 65.6% completion, a 102.4 passer rating and a 71.4 quarterback rating. That was why opposing defense still had to respect his passing assaults.
Robert Griffin III on-field virtuosity is similar to that a wily, gun-slinging gambler in the poker world. But sometimes, his best asset comes and bites back to bust him out of the tournament. After suffering ACL, LCL, and meniscus tears in his right knee in their Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks, Griffin III and Coach Mike Shanahan have to know when to go all in, or fold the cards about their use of the pistol formation. The particular offense is only effective with a dependable dual-threat quarterback, which is why the Redskins have to keep RG3 healthy to build around his offense in the future. Minus the major injuries, the implementation of the pistol in Robert Griffin III’s holster proved to be a step towards the right direction. And with smarter use, it can lead the Burgundy and Gold to once again cash in on the glory of Super Bowl XXVI.
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