Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/19/12
Robert Griffin III has been impressive through the first six weeks of his NFL career, bringing up memories of athletic quarterbacks like Michael Vick and Steve Young. Both players were effective running the ball in their time, but the two players have combined to play just four full seasons out of a possible 25, due to injuries. Young was one of the most effective quarterbacks in the NFL for years because he was able to beat defenses with both his cannon-like left arm, and with his legs. However, Young's career was derailed several times by injuries -- most notably concussions -- sustained from years of taking too many hits. Young's three full seasons from 1992-94 included two MVPs, three first-team All-Pro selections and a Super Bowl win in 1994. The story is much of the same for Vick. Since Vick came into the league in 2001, he has played exactly one full season and playing 15 games on three occasions. Quarterbacks take enough of a beating as it is and adding a running back's workload adds to it. Young and Vick's injury issues should serve as the cautionary tale for Griffin. The rookie has already been knocked out of one game with a concussion and, if he isn't careful, there could be more to come. The key for Griffin and his coaches will be to keep the young quarterback from putting himself in harm's way too often. Quick to tuck-and-run, Griffin is asking for trouble with bigger, stronger, faster linebackers and safeties waiting for him once he breaks through the line. Griffin is carrying the ball just over nine times per game this season, a number that some platoon running backs don't approach. While he is basically the Redskins' second running back, the faith, resources and responsibility they are putting on him as a quarterback and leader of the team call for that number to drop a bit. The NFL has gone to great lengths to protect quarterbacks and receivers, allowing the passing game to rule the sport. However, once the quarterback starts to run, those rules go out the window and the league's stricter concussion policy comes into play. Taking advantage of the former means he won't be at the mercy of the latter. If Young and Vick could go back and do it all again, they likely would have hung in the pocket a few more times and taken a few less hits. If Griffin wants to be the gold standard instead of just another cautionary tale -- which he has the ability and potential to do -- he should hold off on the tuck-and-run game that won him a Heisman Trophy and start playing like an NFL quarterback.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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