Posted November 21, 2013

Robert Griffin III’s postgame comments create a schism in Washington

NFC East, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

It’s one of the oldest and truest clichés in the NFL — quarterbacks get too much credit and take too much blame. It’s part of the job when you’re a team’s franchise player, and another part of that job is a keen awareness when it comes to what you say about the team in public. For all the grief some signal-callers get for streaming the same lines in every press conferences, anyone who steps outside the box and calls it like he sees it will see a fan and media hell unleashed upon him … especially when the team’s dysfunctions are partially Mr. Quarterback’s fault.

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has received a heaping helping of that reality this week. After his team’s 24-16 Sunday loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Griffin told reporters that Philly’s defense basically knew what was coming. He also claimed that his disastrous heave of an interception with 40 seconds left in the game had more to do with pressure in his face and lack of open receivers than any bad decision on his part.

“We had a certain concept with running and nobody got open so I was backing up, and in the situation where you get a sack there, it ends the game. I was trying to throw the ball to the back of the end zone. It didn’t get to where I wanted it to go.”

A look at the tape shows that Griffin first read to the right side, found nothing open, and turned to his left. The potential receiver most likely to be open on the play was running back Roy Helu (yellow square below), who was being redirected by linebacker DeMeco Ryans at that time. Helu released just after this shot, but Griffin felt pressure on his front side from defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and hurried the throw. The Redskins player who looks open near the line is guard Kory Lichtensteiger — not an option. Griffin tried to throw the ball out of the end zone from the Philadelphia 18-yard line, and the pass was intercepted in the end zone by cornerback Brandon Boykin.

griffinpick

So, Griffin was technically correct. He saw no open receivers, felt heat from the pass rush and tried to get rid of the ball. However, there are ways to say things and ways not to say things, and Griffin made it sound as if no aspect of the game-killing play was his fault. Or, at least that’s how it sounded to Redskins receiver Santana Moss, who countered with his feelings about Griffin’s comments during a Tuesday appearance on 106.7 The Fan’s LaVar and Dukes Show.

“Whether you’re the receiver, the quarterback, the guys making the tackle, whoever, regardless of the outcome, good or bad, you have to at some point, stand up and say ‘me’ or ‘I,’” Moss said, via the Washington Post.

“If we’re going to win games, we need to win games with our guy saying ‘At the end of the day, I didn’t make a play,’ regardless of if it wasn’t him, and that’s how I feel. Because that’s what we’re out there to do. I’m not sitting here to tell you why it didn’t happen, or who didn’t make the play for me to make a play.

“If I’m the guy, that at the end of the day [has] the ball in my hand, and we’re sitting there and the game is over because of me, I didn’t do enough to make the play. I didn’t do enough to help us win.”

Head coach Mike Shanahan explained the problems with the play in an interview with CSN Washington.

“Well [N]o. 1, we had a timeout, and the play that we called, everybody did not run the routes that we said. So it was kind of a very easy play to run, a play that we’ve been running since camp. And for some reason with the communication, it came out the wrong way. So that’s the first thing you look at. But sometimes you’ve got to throw the football away. Sometimes a quarterbacks’s gonna scramble and make a play. You’re gonna keep on growing as time goes on. Robert, I thought, did some great things in the game. He’s gonna have experiences where he’s gonna wish he had a throw back or threw the ball away, but that’s just part of the growing process of being a quarterback.”

Basically, this was a bad play by a young quarterback who was not helped at all by his receivers or blockers. Had Griffin put it on himself, regardless of whose fault it was, there would be little controversy about the play. (For his part, Griffin conceded Wednesday that he might be able to say “I” or “Me” more going forward.) Had Griffin been playing as he did in his incredible rookie season — which he is most certainly not — this might have been swept under the rug. But the Redskins are 3-7, Griffin has been inconsistent all season, Washington’s offense was eminently predictable (especially in the first half), and Griffin’s targets have had trouble separating from defenders all year.

So yes, it’s a global problem. But whatever the schism is, Griffin is the target of the majority of the ire in this case. He’s a great player, but he’s also a young player, and Griffin needs to learn how to win the battle of perception.

64 comments
SandHills
SandHills

RGIII, Cam, and before them Vick and Vince Young...ran through college and at the beginning of their NFL careers on their pure athletic ability.  Lots of smart NFL defensive coordinators with the right personnel then set up game plans to at least limit the impact of these QBs running wild.  Now they have to think and react to coverages.  It appears Wilson in Seattle has learned, maybe even Kaepernick as well - and maybe even Cam (who still has the purest form of athletic ability).  My bet is RGIII is headed for the same fate as Vick and Vince Young (and book is still out on Cam).

mr6
mr6

Wow, I reread RG3's comment --- could Moss be any more thin-skinned, petty, and basically a weenie?  I'm glad I'm not a Skins fan, you guys have some real a h oles there!

mr6
mr6

Who cares about the stupid last play?  It's not like that was going to make a difference!

destrusdominate
destrusdominate

Let's just call as it is. RG3 is a BUST!!!! This dude did NOT even get his team to the 10-6 record last year.. 3 Games were won by Kirk Cousins!!! The fact the Redskins are again 3-7 is no surprise, given they have a horrible QB. 

BarrySoetoro
BarrySoetoro

So Moss says to accept the blame when the receivers Don't run the correct routes---figures.

x72
x72

Snyder's a bum

x72
x72

Shanahan's a bum

x72
x72

RG3's a bum

pval
pval

On a different note  : how myopic it is for the pundits (and the public) to "post mortem" close games as if  only the last plays mattered ? 

Everybody behaves as if RG3 bad throw lost the game. Newsflash : the Redskins had VERY LITTLE CHANCE  of winning ANYWAY, even if RG3 had "completed his incompletion". 

why : because after that they STILL would have to :

1°) Score a  throwing touchdown with no credible threat of a run,  on the last play, starting on the 30 yards line : that's called a Hail Mary, and we all now how rare it is. good luck with that !

2°) THEN, make a two-points conversion : I know they did it twice before in that game, but guys, there's a reason why teams almost always choose the kick over the two points conversion : it is HARD to pull off !

3°) And THEN, WIN in OVERTIME !! as if that  bit was an afterthought.....

That game was LOST well before the last play, mostly in the first half. The whole last drive was the equivalent of a hail mary : very little chance to make it, but at this point it doesn't matter : it's all you have left, and if you don't make it, well, the game was already lost anyway.

Now if you want to nitpick on the fact that it was a third down, so there was a last chance to make play after that, be my guess, but i'll say this :

RG3 had probably less than 3/10 of a second to evaluate whether or not the defender would close on him fast enough to alter his throw.  If he elects to take the sack instead, his teams loses more yards, making the last throw evern harder.  

He ended up miscalculating by a narrow margin, so what of it ?  Every week you will see far more egregious mistakes made by QBs, even elite ones. 

Whatever the reasons for the Redskins loss, talking about RG3 mistake on the last play is like pointing the finger to the tree that hides the forest.

pval
pval

I am amazed that, in this age and time, pro athletes can't learn to keep their mouth shut. 

RG3 is fully entitled to  his opinions on what is wrong with his team, but the proper environment to voice them is in a work meeting with coaches and/or teamates.

 I have no doubts thery have are  a lot of these on a regular basis.

Anything else is counter productive and, ultimately,self damaging.

rskins09
rskins09

When your team is losing every comment, observation the QB says is put under a microscope ..Been like that the past 50 years ..What RG was really saying is the OC - Kyle's - playcalling was too  predictable perhaps ? .. It's not always the play(s) themselves, it's the execution of THE play ..I'm a die hard Redskin fan but the Eagles defense ,most of the game, played great ..Talk about being prepared ..Great coaching on the Eagles part ...RG should talk to Tiki, know-it-all, Barber on what not  to say after a team loss ..  

John S4
John S4

I didn't see the play, so you can take these comments with a grain of salt:  he says he was trying to throw the ball away.  He's on the 30 and the end zone is 10 yards deep, right?  So, he's saying he can barely throw the ball 40 yards in the air??

Centennial
Centennial

There is only one thing a quarterback should say after a bad game: "It was my fault, I let my team down." True or not, it doesn't matter; that's what leadership is all about.  RG 3 needs to learn that lesson and Mr Brady seems to have forgotten it.

arizjoe
arizjoe

RGlll needs to remember the dictum of Henry Ford ll, "Never complain;  Never Explain."   For him to open his mouth, good or bad, just complicates recovery and preparation for the next game.

Hey Baylor Bear, life in the NFL is more complicated than a Subway commercial.

I saw the final drive, and he missed some guys.   In addition, he is playing on 1 and 1/2 legs and is not the same guy as last year.   He'll have to learn to do it from the pocket, like most others.  Because the NFL quarterback who runs winds up in Mt. Sinai (hospital) and his career is over.

konenp
konenp

And Moss needs to shut up.  Although I somewhat agree with him about RG3 just saying "bad throw by me" I'd love to know the last time Moss sat in the locker room and said "i dropped too many balls today" because he drops balls left and right

gak01
gak01

RG III maybe should have worded it different, but QB's do take the brunt of the criticism. And when you make all the reads on the play and no one is open,  I see nothing wrong with saying a bunch of other guys that get paid millions of dollars to do a job didn't do their jobs. Is RG III a bully now??

Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask
Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask

Does anybody posting here really take the time to look at the sad list of Redskins QBs since their last Super Bowl victory?... For all his faults and immaturity RG III has brought respect to a position in Washington that still has the stink of names like shuler, frerotte, banks, grossman... Do I need to continue?

Unforgiven_3
Unforgiven_3

This guy sucks but, I do like watching Russell Wilson as he's got class and not arrogant at all!

ken.burnside
ken.burnside

So glad my team got Russell Wilson.  So sad the Redskins aren't doing better, because their first round pick is going to go to the Rams, who'll try to cram Jadaveon Clowney into that terrifying D-line they've got.  I REALLY don't want to think about a DE rotation of Clowney, Long and Quick on the Rams.

So, Redskins, please get two more wins this season...

NoQNoSuperBowl
NoQNoSuperBowl

A prima donna QB and a prima donna coach. They deserve each other. Washington fans deserve a better coach AND a chance to see what Cousins can do as a starter.

mrfrogburger
mrfrogburger

As a Skin fan, I am for benching him and playing Cousins. That'll teach him and he'll get to rest his leg for the rest of the season.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

He's 24 and will, I expect, mature. Most of us learn the hard way, and that's what is happening with Griffin. 

inthepresent
inthepresent

it's a shame that the wheels look like they're a little loose, if not quite coming off. 

i was hoping that the 1-2 discussion with he and Luck would go on for many years.

here's hoping they right the ship, and it does. as long as they aren't playing the new york football Giants.  

mr6
mr6

@destrusdominate I'm not an RG3 or Redskins fan, but I'd certainly have a very hard time judging ANY quarterback by that game --- his only hope was that SF's D-Line would simply get tired of chasing him around the field.

hoth733
hoth733

@x72 Could you say something nice once... just for me :)

destrusdominate
destrusdominate

@x72 You mean RG3 is a bum? Shanahan's a great coach. You can't coach stupid though.

bartleby'sdog
bartleby'sdog

@x72 Snyder doesn't belong in football. As long as he's around, they're all bums. 

destrusdominate
destrusdominate

@pval That's because RG-ME is all about himself. No fault, No reason for him to go on the field and play to earn his title. You should just hand the trophy to him. He expects it, no reason to earn it.

mr6
mr6

@John S4 wow, you're a moron.  Even without seeing the play, you're an idiot.  Have you ever seen him throw a long ball --- one thing RG3 CAN do is throw 60+ yards with no problem!

mbroncofan
mbroncofan

@John S4 Elway makes that throw.  Jay Cutler as well.  Other than those two...I'm not so sure anyone has the arm to get it out the back of the endzone falling down backwards.

I don't know when this kid is going to grow up though.  Another case of someone not taking responsibility for their own shortcomings. 

mesteve8
mesteve8

@John S4 He was backing away with a defender right on him with both hands up. It almost looked like he had to hop and throw the ball at the same time

matthewfreitas27
matthewfreitas27

As much as I agree with you, that is what our guy Kaepernick does after games, and the response to it is fans and media blasting him for not being better and getting results. He has a bad OC that calls predictable plays, a suspect O Line that is vastly overrated, AND he is growing up on the job (with bumps along the way) . Some of it is on him, yet he voices that he owns it...so , for QB's in this league, whatever you say gets twisted against you.

mr6
mr6

@arizjoe so do you think he really has the option of not talking to the press after the game?  Interesting.  I'm sure that would work.  I'm sure mgmt would say that's OK.  

konenp
konenp

@Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask Yep.   Ask Dolphin or Browns fans what it's like to have a parade of stiffs at that position.  Doesn't matter how many high picks you get over the years you are destined for mediocrity.  RG3 had one great year (yes great please look at the stats before making a silly hater comment) while healthy and one mediocre year (so far) while recovering from a tough injury.  I'm going to guess the first year was a better sample but we will see next year.  By the way, give him the Seahawks D and would have a winning record this year.  I like Wilson but has not had to do any of the heavy lifting RG3 and Luck had to do last year.

ianforbes
ianforbes

@ken.burnside LOL. Until Wilson starts to suck and then you'll run him out of town. Please spare me the "Yayyy, I love my QB" crap.

Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask
Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask

Jadaveon Clowney.. Really?!?... If anything if Im the Rams Im using both mine and Washingtons 1st rounder to get a QB because Bradford is not the answer.. Defense can be bought through free agency but a qb is another story

PWINGS
PWINGS

@ken.burnside    I agree on Russell Wilson. He's going to be an excellent pro QB for many years to come.

As for Clowney, Jeff Fisher had his fill of overpaid prima donnas after coaching Albert Haynesworth @ Tennessee. That's why Fisher didn't draft Justin Blackmon after everyone (myself included) was convinced the Rams were sure to draft him. Turns out the Rams were right and we were wrong.

letsplumb
letsplumb

@NoQNoSuperBowl

im a redskin fan,rg has not healed.they need to sit him the rest of the year...get ready for next year 

rskins09
rskins09

@NoQNoSuperBowl ... Die hard Redskins fan for years ... Hind sight is 20/20 and all that ..I would have started  Cousins  at least the first four games this seasons ..Think he would have been a tad better than RG  with his injury ... Cousins played GREAT last season in relief and won every game he started ... Look at  the 32 starting QB's in the NFL this year ...Cousin's  is better than at least  16  starting QB in the NFL this year ..Redskins were lucky Cousins was still on the board when they drafted him --4th round pick , a steal ....

destrusdominate
destrusdominate

@mrfrogburger If your management is smart they should trade him for 1 draft pick and recuperate something from him rather than nothing. He is a bust.

destrusdominate
destrusdominate

@konenp @Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask What great year did he have? You mean the one where it asked Kirk Cousins to win 3 games for him so they could make the playoffs? This RG3 guy is over-rated, and I'm not afraid to say it. The facts speak for themselves, he is a 3-6 record QB.

rskins09
rskins09

@konenp @Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask    Redskins & Browns were in the same division for years, years ago ..Was a big fan of Gary Collins ...Anyway, don't know what you Browns fans have to do to get a good QB ... Remember Tim Couch  and after ..Seems like  you Browns fans are just plain jinxed  with QB's ..Year after year after year , Browns draft a bunch of stiffs @ QB ... BTW, Art Modell did a number on you Browns fans .....

destrusdominate
destrusdominate

@PWINGS @ken.burnside Dont forget other prima donnas Jeff Fisher dealt with, like Vince Young. And speaking of... another prima donna he avoided named RG3. Just saying! lol