Saturday, September 15, 2012
Weekend mailbag: Of RG3 and instant fame
By Dan Graziano
Found some actual questions amid all of the abuse, but I'm not going to lie to you: It's getting harder and harder to go back into the mailbag every week. This is not a forum for you to call me names and swear at me. You do enough of that on Twitter, and in the comments section. And no matter how sure you are about it, I really don't hate or like your team or anyone else's. So you can stop telling me I do. You're wrong.
Seriously, some of this garbage just doesn't make any sense. Chris in Charleston, S.C. addressed me as "Matt," which shows he's been paying close attention to the blog for the past 16 months. And Frederick from Gresham, Ore. actually wrote that not enough people are giving Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III credit for his performance Sunday in New Orleans, and accused ESPN of racist coverage. What in the world is Frederick reading, watching or listening to, exactly?
Anyway, try harder, you maniacs, or we'll scrap this. Meantime, here's what I fished out of the sludge this week.
Andrew from Rockville, Md., asks whether I think all of the praise and accolades Griffin is receiving (and Frederick from Gresham is apparently unable to find anywhere) might go to Griffin's head. Specifically, Andrew says, he worries "that his development will be stymied because he feels that he is already at an elite level and no longer needs to prove himself."
Dan Graziano: In general, it's a worthwhile question to ask about any young player. But I think part of what the Redskins (and many other teams) saw that they liked in Griffin was his remarkably grounded nature. If you've ever spoken to Griffin, or to his parents, as many of us had the pleasure of doing at and around the draft, this is not something that would concern you. I believe the Redskins did their homework on Griffin before trading all of the very high picks they traded to get him, and I'm certain they asked themselves this very question. But he doesn't not strike you as the sort of person for whom this will be an issue. He's driven and determined and, I am sure, far from satisfied with one game. He's also a rookie quarterback, and there's little reason to believe he won't have some bumps in the road this year that will help keep him humble.
Dale from Novato, Calif., has an issue with the comparisons of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree to the 2011 version of Laurent Robinson. Dale points out that the main reason Robinson was as involved in the Cowboys' offense as he was last year was that he was filling in for an injured Miles Austin, and that as long as Austin and Bryant are healthy Ogletree is likely to fill a lesser role.
DG: Your point is fair, Dale, and it's the main reason why people (especially fantasy football players) need to pump the brakes on expectations that Ogletree will automatically put up Robinson's numbers just because he's playing his position. That said, I wouldn't be so quick to assume Week 1 was a fluke. The Cowboys do like to use three wide receivers a lot, and Tony Romo seemed very comfortable looking for and throwing to Ogletree, especially on third down. If the guy can keep getting open, I think he's going to keep seeing the ball. And I also don't think Austin's any lock to stay healthy.
Bill from Reading, Pa., thinks that New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle should have been excluded from this week's All-NFC East team because of the mistake he made on Austin's touchdown. Bill says that play was bad enough to disqualify Rolle from the team in spite of anything else he did in the game, in his opinion, and that he knows I don't care what he thinks but appreciates the opportunity to tell me anyway.
DG: Bill, of course I care what you think, and you're entitled to your opinion. When I watched the game back, I saw Rolle as consistently active and disruptive at several different levels of the field, and I thought he played like the best safety on the field in that game. Which is high praise, considering how well the Cowboys' safeties played and my opinion of Kenny Phillips. But because you and others have complained, I went and checked out Pro Football Focus' grades for the week to see if maybe I was way off base. They ranked Rolle's performance 18th among Week 1 safeties, and the only NFC East safety who got a better grade was Philadelphia's Kurt Coleman, who had two interceptions. Rolle was their highest-rated safety against the run for the week, for the entire league. So while I don't think PFF is the be-all, end-all of analysis, I respect their work and seeing that they rated him there made me feel as though I had some sense of what I was talking about. Again, I respect your right and the rights of others to disagree, but I feel I'm on solid ground on this one.
And yes, it has begun. Derrick from Queens, N.Y., wonders, given the issues Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has had last year and had in the opener with turnovers, would "a big... prototypical QB like Nick Foles, even though he is a rookie, better suit the eagles explosive offense?" Derrick believes the main issue plaguing the Eagles' offense is Vick's ability to get the ball out quickly and to open receivers.
DG: I agree that that's the issue, Derrick, but I disagree with any assumption that a rookie third-round pick is the answer. We haven't seen Foles in these situations in which Vick is struggling, and given what we know about rookie quarterbacks and the time it takes them to develop, it's no stretch to assume he'd have the same issues or worse. The Eagles are built around Vick and his unique abilities, which do exceed those of Foles. If he costs them the season, I imagine they'll say good-bye to him after this season and rebuild around someone else, possibly Foles. But they're going with Vick now, and to be calling for the rookie after one game is short-sighted.
See you all next week. Maybe.