Robert Griffin III clears air with WR
ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was not his usual self Wednesday, stung, perhaps, by mounting criticism over every aspect of his NFL life, from the words he uses to the throws he makes.
But after talking to receiver Santana Moss, Griffin reached a conclusion.
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The most important thing for Robert Griffin III to learn right now is just how much every word he says is going to be examined, sometimes to the point where even the message people want to hear gets lost, writes John Keim. Blog
"We're on the same page," Griffin said. "We just want to beat San Francisco."
However, Griffin also said he regretted some of what he said after Sunday's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles -- phrases and words that have led to criticism ever since. Griffin threw an interception on the Redskins' final play when he tried to throw the ball out of the end zone while backpedaling around the 30-yard line.
Afterward, Griffin tried to explain his decision-making by saying that no one was open, and he had a pass rusher in his face and didn't want to take a sack. He eventually said it was a pass he should not have made.
Moss said Griffin simply should have said he didn't make the play and leave it at that. Also after the game, Griffin in essence said the Eagles knew what plays were coming and the Redskins needed to counteract them better. It came across as a shot at the Redskins' coaches.
"I just have to know in that situation after a tough loss to a divisional opponent I can't give anybody an opportunity to read into my words and misinterpret anything," Griffin said. "I was trying to give a compliment to Philly. I wasn't trying to take shots at anybody and it turned out that way. If I could take that back, yeah I would take it back because in the heat of the moment you're frustrated."
Griffin said he spoke with coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan about what he meant to say. There have been numerous discussions about Griffin's relationship with both Shanahans.
"It's three guys that want to win," Griffin said. "That's the bottom line. Whenever you're not winning, it creates a lot of madness, especially where we're at right now. The only way to stop the madness is for us to win and you've got three guys -- coach, Kyle, myself -- we all want to win and that's a good recipe."
Griffin did not have to endure such sharp criticism during a magical rookie season in which he led the Redskins to their first NFC East title since 1999. He was hailed as a savior and embarked on a long honeymoon with Redskins fans.
Now, leading a team that's 3-7 and with his own play inconsistent, every word is dissected, starting with whether or not he accepts enough blame by saying, "I" or "me."
"You guys asked me about the last play of the game," Griffin said. "I said I tried to throw the ball away and it didn't work. I don't know who else is to blame for that. I tried to throw the ball away and it didn't work. So like I said, you just can't let those little things -- 'I,' 'me,' people trying to coach you in those areas -- take advantage of or just turn what you're trying to say. I talked to London [Fletcher] and those guys and they knew what I was trying to say. Maybe I can say, 'I,' 'me' a whole lot more, but other people can take that the wrong way, too."
Teammates and coaches rallied behind Griffin, with a number of them praising his leadership, both publicly and privately. Shanahan said he has no problems with Griffin's accountability or leadership. Shanahan said he understood what Moss meant to say and he understood what Griffin meant to say.
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"Usually Robert is dead-on with everything," Shanahan said. "It comes very natural to him. But what doesn't come natural to anybody is going through the trials and tribulations you go through after winning and losing. It's tough. He's a guy that can grow from it because he's extremely bright."
Griffin said he talks often with Fletcher, a longtime defensive leader whose locker is next to his. Griffin also said he leans on his family during these sorts of times and the advice from everyone is the same: Keep working. He said he's not about to change who he is or how he leads.
And he knows the cause of the problems.
"I think the 3-7 is the root of the issue," Griffin said. "We felt like we'd come out and play extremely well and we haven't this year. We haven't been consistent enough. I haven't been consistent enough. It's sad for us and frustrating for us. We know we're not a 3-7 team. That's the tough part."
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