Rich Gannon: Redskins have to reel in RGIII


(Julio Cortez/AP)

I’m guessing it’s probably been six or seven minutes since you’ve heard or read about someone criticizing Robert Griffin III. Possibly less, if you’re a frequent sports-talk radio or Internet consumer. Possibly more, if you’re dead.

Anyhow, if you’re going through withdrawal, I recently received a news release from CBS Sports touting a conversation between three former NFL quarterbacks — Phil Simms, Rich Gannon and Steve Beuerlein — saying things about RGIII. These things were said before Sally Jenkins’s column came out.

The topic was whether there’s something untoward or inappropriate in Matt Stafford and Robert Griffin III being involved in the hiring process for their respective franchises. Stafford, of course, has met and will meet with the Lions’ head coaching candidates. Griffin, of course, is in Hawaii.

“The players are having say in these things?” Simms began. “It’s the owner, the general manager, the coach and then the quarterback. And once you disrupt that order, you’ve got chaos. And when has it worked any other way? Somebody give me an example. I just don’t understand that. Were you ever part of the process?” he then asked Beuerlein. “My gosh. I went out there every day, worried about my job, my position. … What if you’re Matt Stafford and RGIII; their money is dictating their power and what they are in the organization, and I just say it’s wrong. And I think you have a hard time having success doing it that way.”

“The other thing is I think it creates some tension in the locker room with your teammates,” Gannon then said, after some more back and forth. “If [your quarterback] is the golden child and he’s involved in those type of decisions, what other decisions is he involved in? Is he involved in my playing time as a running back or as a wide receiver? Is he picking the starting roster? I mean, those are the things you need to keep in mind. I think you’ve got to reel RGIII in in Washington. He took major steps back in a lot of areas last year. His accuracy was way down. His completion percentage; he threw twice as many interceptions. And of course the relationship between the quarterback and the owner has been something that has been talked about in the coaching circles. So I think somebody needs to go in there and get this quarterback back on the saddle, and that’s going to be important.”

(Note: If he’s picking the starting roster, and he chose to bench himself, he’s an odd starting roster-picker.)

“The bottom line is, as soon as you start letting a 23-year-old kid [in RGIII] or a 25, 26, 27, whatever Matt Stafford is, get involved with decisions like this, you’ve lost control,” Beuerlein said. “You’ve got to have an owner that is smart enough to understand you get a football guy to make that decision. If you don’t have that general manager in place, you find somebody that you trust who is going to help lead that search. You’ve got to consider what that quarterback is good at, what his personality is like, and how that relationship is going to work. But you don’t let them have input into who that head coach is. That’s a huge mistake.”

If you want a drastically more skeptical take on reports of RGIII’s selfishness, let me point you to Eric Fingerhut’s Washington Post Sports Watch, which takes an exceedingly dim view of Jenkins’s latest. I am not endorsing either point of view; just spreading world wide web links.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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