Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has taken the brunt of the criticism for his team's disappointing 2013 campaign within the media, and now RG3 is drawing the ire of teammates as well.
According to Chris Lingebach of CBS DC, veteran wide receiver Santana Moss didn't take kindly to Griffin seemingly placing blame on his receivers for the late-game interception that ended Washington's comeback bid against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
Per Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post, Griffin didn't exactly put the ill-advised play entirely on himself.
“We had a certain concept we were running, and nobody got open,” Griffin began. “So I was backing up, and in a situation where if you get a sack there it ends the game, trying to throw the ball out of the back of the end zone. Didn’t get to where I wanted it to go. Obviously I was on my heels, and it’s something I can definitely learn from."
Who is most to blame for RG3's game-ending interception on Sunday?
Moss apparently viewed the statement as an indictment of himself and the receiving corps as a whole. That ultimately led to him saying that he would have handled the situation differently had he been in Griffin's shoes.
“At the end of the day, I was seen with the ball in my hand last, as a quarterback I’m saying,” Moss said Tuesday on The LaVar Arrington show with Chad Dukes, “and if it didn’t get done then I’m going to let you know it was me.”
Moss went on a long tangent about taking responsibility and called for every player on the team to take accountability for their failures.
"...as a leader, you understand that if you’re involved in the situation, 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 later backtracked on the statements, via Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan in Washington:
Santana Moss says his comments yesterday were more about providing a rule for all players and less about Robert Griffin himself. #Redskins— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) November 20, 2013
Moss eventually backed off the comments, but NFL Media columnist Michael Silver reported on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access Kickoff" on Thursday that the issue that has been bubbling under the surface for some time.
"Robert Griffin III's propensity for saying things that maybe the coaches and others in the organization wish he would not say publicly has been a source of frustration for quite some time," Silver said.
One player described Griffin's post-game comments to Silver as "cold-blooded."
Paulsen also provides Mike Shanahan's thoughts on Griffin's comments:
Mike Shanahan on RG3's post-game comments: "I don't have any questions about his accountability or his leadership." #Redskins— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) November 20, 2013
Chick Hernandez of CSN Washington sheds light on what happened during the final play:
Redskins team sources confirm to me Robert Griffin III called the wrong protection on their final offensive play. His postgame comments regarding "no one got open" rubbed teammates the wrong way considering the miscommunication. Today the locker room was unified in their support of the QB. #redskinstalk
n one respect, it can certainly be argued that Moss has a point since Griffin's leadership ability has been openly questioned this season. Per SportsCenter, Redskins legend and Hall of Famer Darrell Green sounded off about Griffin recently.
"I don't think [Robert Griffin III] really is the leader." - Redskins Hall of Famer Darrell Green. (via @insidetheNFL)— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 15, 2013
Griffin talked about his comments further on Friday, according to Tarik Al-Bashir of CSN Washington:
RG3 says he needs to be more clear in his comments, so that there's no room for his words to be taken the wrong way. #RedskinsTalk— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) November 20, 2013
Mike Jones of The Washington Post has the details:
Griffin says "maybe I could say 'I' or 'me' more but people could take that the wrong way too."— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) November 20, 2013
The Redskins' official Twitter feed provided more:
QB @RGIII on critics: "You have to come to work and smile, upbeat...You just can't look at it, block it out, never change who you are."— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) November 20, 2013
Green isn't the only former Redskin who seems to have an issue with RG3. According to Steinberg, Hall of Fame quarterback Sonny Jurgensen, who commentates Redskins games on ESPN 980, called for Griffin to be pulled in favor of backup Kirk Cousins during Week 11.
“Make a change. Can it be any worse? You get four yards passing in a half? I would look at the other quarterback, see if he can make something happen. It’s not the end of the world. They take out pitchers, don’t they?”
Griffin obviously didn't turn in an ideal performance, and he was one of the big reasons behind the loss. At the same time, Moss never took responsibility in his own right despite the fact that he called for Griffin to do precisely that.
Griffin could have shouldered much of the blame, but there were plenty of players who didn't do their job on that play, which is ultimately why the interception was thrown. Based on the way RG3 has been raked through the coals this season, it may seem like he's the sole reason why Washington is 3-7.
However, at least one veteran Redskin has the quarterback's back: linebacker London Fletcher defended Griffin, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post:
Fletcher: no question on RGIII leadership. " this kid is a great leader. He gets it"— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) November 20, 2013
The Redskins have won and lost as a team, though, but with finger pointing making its way into the media, it is clear that at least some of the players have lost sight of that.
Washington is now on the ropes with a huge Monday Night Football matchup against the San Francisco 49ers looming in Week 12. A loss could very well end the Redskins' playoff aspirations, so it is integral that everyone is on the same page.
Beating the Niners is difficult enough for a team that is playing together, but it may prove to be nearly impossible for a team divided.
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