Washington Redskins: Jonathan Martin

No thanks to Incognito, Martin

February, 14, 2014
Feb 14
I'm not going to waste time trying to provide any sort of insight into the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin saga, now that the Ted Wells report has been released.
My only concern: Would either player be a good fit with the Redskins?

The short answer: No.

I'll get to Incognito's play in a minute, but I'll start with the obvious angle about why you wouldn't want him. He's just not the sort of guy you'd want in your locker room. Say what you want about the Redskins' offensive line, but in general it's a pretty cohesive group on and off the field. Guard Chris Chester likes talking politics and the others will chime in as well. I don't see them wanting to be around a guy like Incognito.

Also, the Dolphins reportedly considered cutting him last offseason, despite him making a Pro Bowl. He was not a good fit in their zone blocking scheme and is best described as a mauler in a man-blocking scheme. The Redskins will continue to run a zone blocking system under new coach Jay Gruden.

Then there's this comment from former coach Rick Venturi, who was on St. Louis' staff when Incognito played there -- as was Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. Venturi told ESPN.com of Incognito: "He's a runaway train. When we had him, and I think actually for a while in terms of his actual on-the-field stuff, I actually think he improved in Miami. But for us, he was selfish, he was loud, tried to intimidate. It was just his style. I say selfish, from the standpoint that he was highly penalized. He cost us games, cost us yardage. I was never a fan of his."

By the way, when I used to do some part-time work for the Sporting News, one of my tasks was a midseason survey of four or five players. Every year, Incognito was the runaway winner of players I spoke to as the NFL's most dirtiest.

As for Martin, he's an excellent fit in a zone scheme because of his footwork, which is why Miami drafted him 42nd overall in 2012. But he was a two-time All American in college who was not highly thought of by all. Pro Football Weekly, for example, wrote that Martin was an "overhyped developmental project who needs to get stronger." Here's a list of what others said.

That assessment looked accurate during Martin's time playing in Miami, whether he was on the right or left side. He did not distinguish himself at all. Perhaps he'd be better off at, say, right guard. But strength will be an issue no matter what spot he plays.

Had Martin come to Washington in the first place, which wasn't going to happen obviously, then perhaps he would have avoided certain issues now so well exposed. But he would not have avoided speculation about whether he could play. The Redskins could use more help along the line. The last thing they need is a player who needs a lot of work to develop -- they already have guys like that -- not to mention the circus atmosphere that his presence would create for a first-time head coach.

Redskins Mailbag: Part 1

January, 31, 2014
Jan 31
In Part 1 of this week's Washington Redskins mailbag, the topics: Roy Helu in the passing game, Richard Crawford's progress, trading Kirk Cousins and whether they'd be interested in Jonathan Martin, should he become available. Part 2 will run Saturday.

Fletcher disappointed in Dolphins' vets

November, 5, 2013
ASHBURN, Va. -- London Fletcher said he’s never been in a situation where he needed to stop rookie hazing, or even any form of bullying. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t if he had to. And that’s why he’s disappointed in the Miami Dolphins’ leadership.

Fletcher said the team’s leadership should have put an end to the situation involving offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito.

“I’m real disappointed in the leadership in the locker room in Miami,” Fletcher said. “Who were the leaders on the team? I know Martin didn’t feel comfortable enough to go to any of the guys. Either you’re encouraging it or you’re turning a blind eye and allowing the guy to get treated like he was getting treated. That’s the biggest thing that disappointed me. There was not a veteran guy strong enough to stop what was happening to that young man.”

Fletcher said aside from a couple rookies getting upset with a gag pulled against them, he hasn’t seen anything this bad.

“They might get offended so you got to calm that situation,” he said. “This was something beyond that.”

And he said the language Incognito used in his texts went way beyond what’s acceptable. When asked if that’s the sort of language that goes on in the locker room, Fletcher said, “Not from a white teammate. I think you have to be conscious of that. What he said, shows racism and bigotry. To leave a voice mail like that, he probably said that to the guy’s face. He was very bold. I don’t know if he said it around other guys or was just something he said to Jonathan in privacy. You can’t allow someone to be that comfortable around you to use that type of language at all.”

Linebacker Brian Orakpo went even stronger during an appearance on NFL AM on Tuesday.

“I wish it was me. I would have busted him in his mouth, to be honest with you,” Orakpo said. “But at the end of the day, those guy have to be smart. You really don’t know who you’re messing with. I don’t know. I feel like we don’t have characters like that in our locker room, man, and I think it’s kinda ridiculous. I’m kinda getting upset thinking about it.”