Things just keep getting worse for the Washington Redskins. The Redskins are one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL at 3-7, and they simply cannot seem to get their offense on track. Making matters worse, it appears that rifts in the locker are now bubbling to the surface. Veteran receiver Santana Moss criticized quarterback Robert Griffin III yesterday on a D.C. radio show, saying that Griffin needs to take some responsibility for his play and the results of the team.
It is not the first time this season that RGIII’s leadership has been questioned, as Redskins legend Darrell Green did the same thing a week ago. Griffin’s issues date back to the offseason, where he and the team were widely reported to have disagreements about his ACL rehab. That was followed by the reports of a rift between Griffin and coach Mike Shanahan over how Griffin should be used in the offense. Most recently, Griffin said that the offense was too predictable against the Philadelphia Eagles, and he refused to take any responsibility for the interception he threw that ended the game.
Apparently Moss has had enough, and he made it clear that the quarterback needs to take responsibility for the results of the team. Moss is 100% correct in that assessment. It may not be right or fair, but all great quarterbacks and great leaders deflect praise when the team succeeds and accept blame when it doesn’t. That is part of the responsibility of playing quarterback in the NFL and being a leader in locker room.
To be fair to Griffin, he is a 23 year old kid trying to lead a locker room full of grown men who been in the league far longer than he has. He is only in his second season, and he is surely frustrated that he has not fully returned to form following last season’s torn ACL. He still needs time to mature and learn the responsibilities that come with being a franchise quarterback, and Griffin is a smart, well spoken person who will understand in time.
In the meantime, however, the other veteran leaders in Washington’s locker room need to sit down with Griffin and teach him these lessons. Players such as Moss, London Fletcher and DeAngelo Hall know what it takes to succeed, and they need to make sure that Griffin understands that as well. He can’t publicly criticize the coaching staff, and he has to take some responsibility for the offense’s failures, whether they are specifically his fault or not.
Hopefully for the Redskins, Moss’ comments will be the first step towards identifying and correcting the problem in Redskins’ locker room. The Redskins are essentially out of playoff contention, but a strong finish to their season would restore the positive vibes around this team and set them up well for next season. That begins with RGIII maturing and becoming a real leader, and it is time for him to take that responsibility.