Former Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III delved into the end of his Redskins tenure during a lengthy night of tweeting following Washington’s loss to the Cowboys on Sunday, suggesting that he was never Coach Jay Gruden’s guy, but that “I respect his decision to go with the guy he believed in,” a reference to current starter Kirk Cousins.
“I completely get a coach who believes in a player and has that player’s back no matter what,” Griffin wrote, without mentioning Cousins by name.
In a series of follow-up responses to fans and media members, Griffin took ownership for some of his mistakes in Washington and said he has moved on, while also fighting against what he said were lies.
“There is no blame to spread to anyone,” he wrote at one point. “I’m the reason I got hurt. I’m the reason I made the mistakes I did.”
He wrote that he understands “why [Gruden] did what he did,” but also added that he wished “it was done more professionally.”
Griffin began the night by writing that he loves the city of Washington, loves the people of Washington, and loves his former teammates. “It’s always been love and always will be,” he wrote.
He then asked whether a coach should tailor his offense toward the skill set of his starting quarterback or the skill set of his backup. After fielding suggestions on this question from his followers, Griffin offered his own thoughts in a lengthy string of tweets. (These have been lightly edited for punctuation and clarity.)
“Football is such a special sport with many nuances. Once you grow to appreciate them everything becomes more clear,” Griffin wrote. “NFL offensive schemes all incorporate the same things. Shot plays, screens, chain movers, zone run game, power run game, timing passes, etc. NFL offenses differ in what the plays are called, who is calling the plays and how you get to those plays. Pretty obvious stuff I know. …
“Who the offense is tailored to is not as simple as saying, ‘coaches believe you tailor the system to the talent you have,’ ” he wrote. “If a coach drafts a QB, the guy has a skill set the coach loves and fits his system. The coach will tailor the offense to his skills. If a coach inherits a QB that he did not draft, he still would tailor the offense to that guy’s skill set. But there is always an exception.”
“If a coach inherits a QB but doesn’t believe in that guy, what does he do?” Griffin asked. “You see, coaches have to do what they believe is best for the team. If he does not believe in that QB, [he] will not tailor the offense to that QB. That QB is not what is best for the team. No matter what.
“The beauty of football is that it is 90-percent mental for players, 100-percent mental for coaches,” Griffin wrote. “You must believe in the guys you have to win. I have a great deal of respect for the philosophy of coaches all around the league. Do what you believe in. Play the guys you believe in. When you believe in a guy you make excuses for that guy. The wind, the rain, everything. You work through the rough patches with that guy.
“As a QB, that’s what you want,” he wrote. “As a team, that’s what you want from your coach. Have our back. We have yours. So what does all this mean? Coaches have taught me that you put in an offense that all your QBs can run so things go smoothly if the starter goes down. If you have a mobile starter, typically the backup is, too. If you have a guy who isn’t familiar with a drop-back pro-style offense, you find creative ways to get to those pro-style concepts.
“I asked these questions to prove a point,” Griffin wrote. “Coaches do what they believe in. You got to respect that. After looking back at 2014, I get it now. [Gruden] shook my hand in 2014 and told me, ‘I came here to work with you.’ Went to his news conference and said he wasn’t sure about me. I’m thankful that now I get it. I gave it to God and found my understanding. I respect his decision to go with the guy he believed in. … I just wasn’t his guy. But I completely get a coach who believes in a player and has that players back no matter what. Much love.”
Griffin also wrote that he knows Washington is frustrated with the Redskins and that the city just wants a winner and deserves one.
“Those guys in that locker room are working hard to give you a winner,” he wrote. “I know because I still talk to them on the regular and believe in them.”
He then replied to some of the comments, telling fans he was “not bitter at all,” and that he doesn’t “feel sorry for myself,” and that he “gave everything I had for my squad. Doesn’t change the facts of what happened and why they did.”
Among other highlights, Griffin wrote that he loved Mike Shanahan as a coach, but that ” ‘sources say he didn’t want to be there and would do whatever it took to get fired.” Griffin wrote that the oft-reported moment he and his father told Shanahan that Griffin wouldn’t run the coach’s 50 series plays “never happened,” and that “no coach I have ever played for said I didn’t listen to them or I wasn’t coachable. Not one.”
“I was drafted [in Washington], have a lot of great memories there [and] will always have love for D.C.,” Griffin wrote, while also arguing that “people spreading lies about my character will never be ok.”
“Don’t make yourself a victim,” he concluded. “Live your life. Take responsibility for your mistakes. Know why things happened and come back stronger.”
Cousins threw for 263 yards, one touchdown and one interception behind a makeshift line and in a steady rain during Sunday loss, but many fans were left frustrated by one of the team’s weakest offensive performances of the season. Also, we will apparently be writing and reading about Griffin and Cousins and Gruden for the rest of our natural-born lives.