So the “fans” apparently cannot remember the healthy Griffin and prefer to focus on this version of the struggling young quarterback, so much so that they actually chanted for Colt McCoy at the end of the ‘Skins debacle yesterday in losing by 20 points to the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Bad times in D.C., and we don’t mean at the White House.
Griffin threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. He was sacked four times. He did not exhibit acute presence in the pocket. He missed some throws. Despite all that, he’s still the more viable choice for the Redskins.
The season is over. Any notion of a miraculous run to the playoffs diminished two weeks ago when they found a way to lose to Minnesota. What would be the point of playing McCoy over Griffin?
Four weeks ago the “fans” wanted Kirk Cousins as the quarterback, as if they forgot how underwhelming he was in the final three games of last season. Well, he showed his true worth and was benched in favor of McCoy, who was outstanding in the team’s signature win of the season over the hated Dallas Cowboys.
But the future of the team is not McCoy. Griffin was the No. 1 pick in the draft two years ago, the NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year. He’s getting healthy. But it looks a lot different from two years ago.
“We were playing good team ball,” Griffin said. “It takes 11 men. It doesn’t take one guy, and that’s proven. If you want to look at the good teams in this league and the great quarterbacks, the Peytons and the Aaron Rodgers, those guys don’t play well if their guys don’t play well. They don’t. We need everybody. I need every one of those guys in that locker room, and I know they’re looking at me saying the same thing.”
As well they should. Griffin’s biggest problem has been Griffin. It came too easy for him as a rookie, and he came off as borderline arrogant, saying the team was his, that he was the leader and, essentially, he had arrived.
That attitude could not have been well received in the locker room. And it shows up on the field. More than one observer has noticed that Griffin receives less protection and takes more hits than any of his replacements. It’s hard to believe a lineman would not block for him as hard as possible, but. . .
It is hard to say Griffin is regressing. He certainly has not progressed. Could it be that he’s still not totally healthy or confident in his ability to move? Yes. Could it be adjusting to new coach Jay Gruden’s system? Yes.
“All of the sacks are on me. Period.” Griffin said, which was refreshing, especially for him. “We’re 3-7. . . We can’t do what 3-7 football teams do. We can’t throw knives and stab each other in the back. I think we have good people in our locker room, men of God that are going to stick together and stay strong. So when you ask me that question, and I say all of the sacks are on me, it’s because I’m looking myself in the mirror and saying, I can do better. I have to do better. I need every man in that locker room, players and coaches, to look themselves in the mirror and say, ‘What can I do better?’”
What’s not going to make Griffin better is “fans” calling for Colt McCoy. He’s been a backup for the last four years for a reason. And remember this, too: Griffin—or McCory, for that matter—does not play defense, which is a real problem. The success of blitzing Tony Romo three weeks ago was a diversion from the reality: Jim Haslett as defensive coordinator does not cut it.
Griffin is not cutting it as quarterback, either. But the remainder of the season has to be about getting him reps. He has to rebuild confidence in his health and how to function in the pocket under duress. Gruden and Co. have some coaching to do.
That’s what you do with the first pick in the draft who is just 24 years old and loaded with talent. Build an offensive line around him. Let him play and work his way back. Continue to provide talent in the skill positions. And run the ball with Alfred Morris.
Just don’t say Colt McCoy should play in his place. That doesn’t help—and it’s a silly notion.