The Eagles’ hopes of advancing deep in the playoffs and potentially winning the franchise’s first Super Bowl title took a major hit Sunday, when second-year quarterback and MVP candidate Carson Wentz tore his anterior cruciate ligament during the second half of a win over the Rams. Philadelphia, which boasts the NFC’s best record at 11-2, will hand the quarterback reins to veteran Nick Foles, who hasn’t been a starter since 2015. Should Foles get injured, Nate Sudfeld, who was released by the Redskins during the preseason and hasn’t thrown a pass during his two years in the NFL, is Philadelphia’s next option.
That precarious situation has led many pundits, including ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, to wonder if the Eagles might consider bringing in a more experienced quarterback, such as Colin Kaepernick, to back up Foles. On Wednesday, former Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III suggested that the Eagles give him a look.
“You know, I sat here and I watched you banging the hammer for Colin Kaepernick to go there yesterday, right?” Griffin told Smith during a guest appearance on ESPN’s “First Take.” “I think you should be banging the hammer for me to go there. If you want to talk about a guy that can do similar things that Carson can do, why not? Why not? Why not?”
(On Tuesday, Smith said the Eagles should “strongly consider” signing Kaepernick, who many believe is being blackballed by NFL owners for being the first NFL player to protest during the national anthem last season.)
“Are you trying to say that you might be a better option than Colin Kaepernick?” Smith replied. “I’m talking about on the field.”
“On the football field, every quarterback believes he’s the best option,” said Griffin, who has been out of a job since being released by the Cleveland Browns in March. “That’s just the way it goes. Getting back to Nick Foles, I think Nick believes that he is the best option right now. I believe the team believes that he is the best option right now. They have the utmost confidence in him. [Eagles Coach Doug] Pederson was there when they drafted him, when Andy Reid was there, and he was with him in Kansas City, so they’ve got that vibe together. So I think they’ll be okay. They’re not going to be the dominant football team that they were when they had Carson Wentz, everybody knows that, but they do need to bring in somebody who can do some Carson Wentz type of things.”
Griffin was at ESPN headquarters in Bristol for a second consecutive day. During Tuesday appearances on “NFL Live” and “SC6,” he claimed he turned down offers from the Baltimore Ravens and the Arizona Cardinals during the offseason because neither team was the right fit. On Wednesday, he made it clear that he’s not expecting to be able to start in Philadelphia, or anywhere else this season, but he’s confident he could still help a team.
“I don’t think I’m in a position to come in right away and start for a playoff team next week, just because you need to get in, get used to the guys, get used to the offense, but as far as coming in and providing some stability at the backup position, so that if the starter does go down, I think I could definitely do that,” Griffin said. “I’m prepared, I’ve been throwing, I’ve been working out and kept my mind sharp watching the game and studying film. So, from that standpoint, I think I can help.”
Looking ahead to next year, the 27-year-old Griffin said he’s “100 percent” committed to returning to the league and competing for a starting job.
“I think every quarterback in my situation, being this young, having the success that I’ve had in the league, you want to be a starter,” Griffin said. “That’s what you want. But what am I willing to do? I’m willing to go in and compete to be QB1, because when you’re out of football for a year, you have to have that expectation. Whether I go in as a one or a two, I’m still going in there to compete, but I wouldn’t mind going in and sitting behind an aging vet, learning some things from them, grow with an offensive staff, grow with the team, see the pieces that they can put together and grow as a football player in that way. I’m not opposed to that, but as a quarterback, as a competitor, I want to go in and compete.”
Smith asked Griffin if he would consider going to a team with a rising young star at the quarterback position, as he once was in Washington.
“It has to be the right situation,” Griffin said. “I can’t exclude that out. I can’t say I’m not going to go play, you know, in Dallas. I’ve gotta say, look, it has to be the right situation, it’s gotta be the right coach, it’s gotta be the right organization. I can’t pinpoint or put a finger on who that’s going to be right now, because there’s going to be so much change this offseason. You don’t know where coaches are going to end up, you don’t know where GMs are going to end up, you don’t know who’s going to be fired, so I have to sit here and continually to prepare.”
Griffin, whose rookie season with the Redskins in 2012 ended with a torn ACL in a playoff loss to the Seahawks, knows better than most what Wentz is going through.
“It will be a tough process to get back, but I believe he’ll get there, and he’s got the right insight in his life,” Griffin said Tuesday. “He knows why he’s playing, he’s knows his purpose for playing, and he knows God’s behind him, so I think he’ll be okay.”
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