After winning the NFC East last season, the Redskins' three losses in three weeks to start this season should be cause for major concern. And to an extent, it is.
But the more pressing issue—and perhaps the key contributor as to why the Washington Redskins have started the season winless—is that the entire organization isn't on the same page. And if everyone from ownership to sideline isn't operating on the same wavelength, missing the playoffs in 2013 will be the least of anyone's worries come January.
Much of the hoopla—a negative cloud of nonsense the Redskins can't seem to quit—began following the injury to Robert Griffin III and head coach Mike Shanahan's absence in the recovery room when his star quarterback awoke from having both of his legs operated on, reconstructing the torn ACL in his right knee.
The curtains closed somewhere around the time when Griffin went public with the fact that he didn't understand or like the team's plan of easing him back into football following a devastating injury and a miraculous recovery.
Sprinkled in between those two events were overblown tweets, titled rehabilitation agendas, constricting knee braces, joking on the sideline and comments from a doctor that were originally thought to be concerns.
Let's also not forget about the umpteen rumors pertaining to the relationship between coach and quarterback. From the idea of Griffin being a brat, to the unidentified source citing the reaction of a prima donna and refusing to run the offense (which Griffin has since refuted), to a teammate noting on more than one occasion that his quarterback isn't 100 percent healthy. Suffice it to say, things are swirling.
And describing it all as a confusing mess would be an understatement.
Is there a riff between coach and quarterback?
Seeing as how much of this could've been avoided had everyone just kept their mouths shut, the first step to getting on the same page shouldn't sound all that foreign. It begins with less discussion with the media in public, and more discussion amongst the involved parties behind closed doors.
That's not to say that Griffin needs to be like Bill Belichick in his pressers, or that he needs to stop with his Adidas and Subway commercials. But the second-year quarterback can save himself from a ton of criticism if he keeps things simple: Talk about football and keep relationship matters in house. No unnecessary text messages, no announced disdain for the coaches' decisions and no reason to make a one-minute appearance to downplay the negative reports surrounding the team.
Luckily for Shanahan, his pressers are already minimal when it comes to detail. But throwing out a hook like he did when Griffin was initially cleared to play seemed unfledged. Almost as if Shanahan was reminding all of us who was in charge in Washington.
There shouldn't be an issue of who's in charge. As Griffin said, he's the player and coach is the coach. But there is a happy medium. There is such a thing as two big egos coexisting on their way to winning football games. It just has to be established. In private.
Although I've never been a part of an NFL locker room, I find it hard to believe the Redskins can't have a team meeting—just one—covering the issue at hand.
For all media questions pertaining to Robert, teammates should use the phrase, "You're gonna have to talk to Robert about that." And when the media then brings it to Robert, he'll say something along the lines of "The only thing I'm concerned with is our opponent this Sunday. And winning football games."
It may seem like that's making everything about Griffin. But in reality, getting on the same page and keeping personal matters in house is for the greater good of the team.