• The "Griffin Situation" Could Be Over in Washington

    Added - Dec. 17, 2014 - Comments


    Just a couple of years ago, Robert Griffin III appeared to be the next big thing as far as quarterbacks were concerned. As a rookie, he led his team to a playoff spot and wound up in the Pro Bowl. But he has been injured a couple of times since then, and has been otherwise sidetracked by other interests. Now, in 2014, not only has he been benched, but his head coach wants him out of town, and there may not be that many takers.

    Griffin is more of an improviser than anything else, and he does not fit the profile of the pocket passer. Unfortunately, as it was to some extent with the previous head coach, Mike Shanahan (who Griffin reportedly had a hand in getting fired), Jay Gruden has a West Coast offense that requires the quarterback to drop back, stay in the pocket and make reads. Apparently he has been astounded by how primitive Griffin is in that regard. Many NFL bettors who were analyzing the situation closely felt there might be a conflict between quarterback and coach, given the fact that Griffin was not a natural fit for the West Coast approach. In turn, it was highly unusual that owner Daniel Snyder would hire Gruden, knowing that he would bring an offense that was not very much to the liking of his franchise quarterback.

    After all, Snyder is the man who pulled the trigger on the trade in which the Redskins sent three first-round draft picks and a second-round selection to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for the right to draft Griffin. So there is a major investment here. And Snyder treated Griffin like someone who was very special, extending him privileges other players didn't have. As one might imagine, this had a deleterious effect on team morale, as players began to resent Griffin. And guess what? When you are not producing the way you should, they're going to resent you even more. That is exactly what has happened in Washington. Griffin injured his ankle in the second game of the season, then recently came back to the lineup. He didn't produce, and didn't show much inclination for doing the kinds of things that Gruden wanted him to do. And now the first-year head coach is reported to have lost patience with a guy he considers to be light-years away from grasping his offense. Naturally, there has been some abrasion in the relationship, and Gruden has stripped Griffin of some of the aforementioned privileges.

    This may yet result in a problem between Snyder and Gruden; there is no way of knowing how that will play out. However, ESPN's Chris Mortensen has reported Snyder expressing that he is "befuddled" by Griffin's decline. And for all of those draft picks he gave up to acquire the Heisman Trophy winner, he might not be able to do any better than a third or fourth-rounder if he attempted to trade him.

    As for the Rams, who are a three-point favorite at FedEx Field for Sunday's game against the Redskins, they have had their own quarterback problems, which includes the year-ending injury to another Heisman winner, Sam Bradford, in the pre-season. But at this point we are willing to bet that they were very happy they made that trade with Washington.