Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Quick Takes: RG III and more
By John Keim
I’m trying to work up the outrage over Robert Griffin III’s Facebook post in his comments thread in reply to a fan because I think I should feel like it was wrong, that he shouldn’t have said anything. A big part of me definitely says don’t worry what critics -- fans or media -- say. You can’t win everyone over so don’t even try; be yourself and move forward. As he discovered this year more than any other: not everyone will love you. And this could be part of a larger issue for Griffin. I get that very much. (I also know the fan liked his reply as did many others. So does it even matter?)
But this is who he is. Griffin is a very public kid. It enabled him to connect with fans on a more personal level before he even arrived in Washington. It’s partly why the love affair existed a year ago. Yes, it was about his game, about the hope he provided for the future. But it was also about his personality. He brought with him a swagger that people loved, from the elbow sleeve to the braids to the confidence. There will be good and bad with that; now some of those same things are scorned. Griffin needs to mature, but he’s not Russell Wilson or Andrew Luck and never will be.
Still: lay low. At this point he has to know that everything he does will become news. Maybe this isn’t what he wanted, at least not to this extreme. But this is his reality, so he must adjust accordingly. But he also didn’t say anything that was bad in his post.
What Griffin needs to do this offseason more than anything is buy into what Jay Gruden is selling offensively, realize he needs to improve in all facets and then work on his game. He also needs to understand that, while some of the stories about him were over the top, there are kernals of truth. A dose of humility can be good and perhaps given time to reflect on the season, rather than worrying about rehabbing his knee, personal gain will follow. No one can assume that just because Mike and Kyle Shanahan are gone that all will be golden again.
If he improves, and if the Redskins win, watch how fast the narrative will change regarding him. But that’s the key: Griffin has to improve and the Redskins have to win. Maturing in other ways will help him improve. I think we’ll learn a lot about Griffin this offseason.
I agree with Herm Edwards who said on ESPN980 Monday that, “I think too much was put on this young guy’s plate.” That is true both on the field and off.
My guess is Morocco Brown will know by the end of the week whether he’s the next general manager in Tampa Bay. There’s a strong familiarity with Tampa coach Lovie Smith, which definitely helps. But, according to various reports, Lionel Vital has emerged as a favorite.
But, as we’ve seen in coaching searches, the so-called favorite hasn’t always gotten the job. Or gone where he’s expected to (Ken Whisenhunt).
One thing I heard from those involved in the game is that Jay Gruden didn’t jump out at them when watching "Hard Knocks." But when they spoke to people in Cincinnati, they received glowing reviews because of his enthusiasm. The players liked him. Talked to one Redskin who said he heard from several Bengals after the hire who praised Gruden.
But one of the biggest ways to learn about a coach is to see the staff he puts together. It will say a lot. I also know there’s a big adjustment for a first-time head coach who also wants to still call plays. The demands on being a head coach are monstrous, especially in a big market such as Washington. Gruden wants to call plays and must learn to balance that with keeping tabs on the other units. But that’s also why he needs good coordinators.
The Redskins' front office has failed previous coaches when it came to this, notably Steve Spurrier and Jim Zorn. I don’t think either would have made it as an NFL head coach, but nobody gave them the guidance they needed either. Can Bruce Allen do that for Gruden?