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RG III A Leader; No Controversy Within Team, Claim Redskins

Photo by USA Today.

Photo by USA Today.

Santana Moss called out second-year Robert Griffin III during a radio interview this week, sparking a firestorm of debate around the Washington Redskins’ star quarterback’s willingness to be accountable for his role in the team’s disappointing 3-7 start in general, and its 24-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday in particular.

The Redskins have spent the rest of the week discussing Moss’ comments, which, on the surface, were not harsh, but when analyzed could question Griffin’s leadership. Griffin threw a game-ending interception that killed a Washington comeback in the final seconds Sunday, and was evasive about his role in the defeat.

Moss, the veteran receiver, said on a D.C.-area radio show: “If I’m a quarterback or I’m a leader and I drop a ball, then it’s me. No matter how it came or what the other guy did, it’s me. At the time [Tuesday] I was picturing myself being the quarterback and what I could tell you … is that, at the end of the day, I’m the last guy that has to make the play to win it or we won’t. If we won, I’ll say we did a great job. If we didn’t, I’m gonna say I have to do a better job.”

As Griffin has become one of the league’s major stars, such candid talk made for quite an uproar in D.C., with Griffin, coach Moss and others chiming in.

“I just have to know in that situation, after a tough loss to a divisional opponent, I can’t give anybody any opportunity to read into my words and misinterpret anything,” Griffin said following Wednesday’s practice at Redskins Park. “Some of the things I said, I was trying to give a compliment to Philly. I wasn’t trying to take any shots at anybody. And it turned out that way, and you’re asking me today. Like I said, if I could take any of that back, yeah, I would take it back because in the heat of that moment, you’re frustrated. You’re trying to figure out why things didn’t work.

“I’m trying to give you guys honest answers and it hurt us in that sense. That’s on me. I’ve just got to take more time to think about things and just not, even when I’m trying to give an honest answer, sometimes ‘Let me look at the film’ is good enough because you can look at the film and figure it out.”

Linebacker London Fletcher said:  “We all need to (accept blame), whether it’s on you or not. It makes everyone else feel better. . . (But) Robert is an excellent leader. Here’s a young guy who was voted captain as a rookie; that doesn’t happen often. It’s voted by his peers, his teammates. That means something. We know the great leadership qualities he has.”

Fullback Darrel Young said: “Robert Griffin’s a leader of this team, and I don’t care what anyone says. I’m going to war with him any day and I know [everyone] in this locker room is going to war with him. … He holds himself accountable to us. To you guys, it doesn’t matter what he thinks. It’s the 53 individuals in this locker room that really ride his back. He’s been the man since he’s been here. We knew that.”

Moss: “What I was saying [was], if you’re ever put in a situation — anybody — this is how we can control it so there is no confusion. Because if you nip it in the bud, then you don’t have to worry about that story being turned somewhere else. You’re a stand-up guy. That’s how it’s going to be portrayed, whether you know you did something wrong or not. ‘I like that dude for what he said because he took it on the chin.’ That’s all you have to do.”

He and Griffin met about Moss’ original statements and claimed they are fine. Said Moss: “That’s the kind of relationship we have. We can talk and get to know or to express what was really said. That’s what we have in this locker room. We don’t have no divided locker room at all.”

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