Friction Brewing In The Nation's Capital?
The Washington Redskins' 2013 season has been dreadful from Week 1. Game after game the team experiences the same problems: They refuse to play defense, the offensive line appears to be made out of paper, and just as QB Robert Griffin III seems to be fitting the pieces together on offense, he makes a fatal mistake. The team is 3-8 after 12 weeks, and just when things couldn't get any worse … they did.
After Washington's Week 11 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, one that ended with an interception thrown by RGIII, the Redskins quarterback had this to say about the final offensive play: “We had a certain concept with running and nobody got open so I was backing up, and in the situation where you get a sack there, it ends the game. I was trying to throw the ball to the back of the end zone. It didn’t get to where I wanted it to go.”
Some may have interpreted RGIII's comments as merely explaining what he saw on the play. However, WR Santana Moss felt differently about his quarterback's comments.
“Whether you’re the receiver, the quarterback, the guys making the tackle, whoever, regardless of the outcome, good or bad, you have to at some point, stand up and say ‘me’ or ‘I,'" said Moss to reporters following the Week 11 game. “At the end of the day, I was seen with the ball in my hand last, as a quarterback I’m saying, and if it didn’t get done then I’m going to let you know it was me."
Uh oh. Teammate questioning teammate? That can't be good.
Moss was not happy about RGIII's not taking responsibility for the Redskins’ loss in Philadelphia. The quarterback's potential lack of leadership ability has been thrust into the national spotlight. The last thing the Redskins need now is friction between their players.
The Redskins could have avoided a possible locker room split if neither of these comments were made. I don't totally agree with Moss that RGIII was in the wrong with his comments. He appeared to have been just explaining what happened on the final play of the Eagles game. It may have not been an opportunity to take blame for the loss. However, if he had accepted fault, Moss would have never made his comments and there wouldn't be talk of tension in Washington.
Given RGIII's comments, Moss, a longtime Redskin veteran, could have stepped up and taken the blame, or not have said anything at all. Moss is equally to blame for the Redskins' loss as he only had two catches for 41 yards (26 catches and 317 yards for the season). If he had taken the blame for the loss, he would have shown his leadership stripes and set a good example for RGIII to follow. It was a potential teaching moment bypassed.
And on further contemplation, why did Moss have to say anything? Especially to the media? Moss could have kept his mouth shut and avoided everything that has happened. If he still wanted to say something, he could or should have spoken to RGIII in private and let him know how he felt about how the second-year quarterback had handled himself. Speaking to the media puts Washington's problems into the national spotlight, which usually just amplifies the issue(s) at hand.
And to heap on top of that, RGIII made comments to the media following that game in which he questioned the coaching staff's play-calling. Now things seem to have come full circle: poor play on the field, and no one getting along off the field.
RGIII should take a page out of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady's books. They have never put the blame on anyone but themselves, even when their team shortcomings were due to their teammates. As for Moss, he needs to put up or shut up and not speak to the media.
If the Redskins want to avoid further catastrophe, they will need to sort out their locker room problems, and make sure the crew doesn't abandon ship in D.C.