WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The Washington Redskins (3-7) are the worst football team in the worst division in the NFL. Let that sentence soak in for a moment.
When you're 3-7, it's everybody's fault. The quarterback. The defense. The play calling. The head coach. Special teams. Whatever. Everyone who watches this team could write a 5,000 word essay on the mess 2013 has morphed into.
So I thought I'd alert your attention to something that happened off the field Sunday in Philadelphia.
If you didn't watch Sunday's 24-16 loss to the Eagles, and only heard Robert Griffin III's press conference, you wouldn't have known the Redskins were dominated for 50 minutes of the football game. Smug and upbeat in front of the podium, RGIII reiterated how proud he was of his team for a valiant fourth quarter effort.
"For us to claw back the way we did -- it sounds cliche and we always talk about character. The guys in that locker room are family. And they fought hard," said Griffin. I hope this isn't really what he's telling his teammates inside the locker room. They can't be buying into that cookie-cutter message anymore.
More tellingly, were Griffin's retorts when reporters pressed him about his shaky performance in Philadelphia (this may have been the most inaccurate game of his career). Instantaneous and repetitive, RGIII was not shy as to why the offense sputtered: the coaching staff.
RGIII said the Eagles seemed, "to know what was coming, before it was coming."
Later, to be clear, Griffin added, "Like I said, you've gotta' give credit where credit is due to Philly. They did a good job of scheming us up."
And my favorite from the Redskins quarterback: "We're the players. We have to make the plays work."
It may have been indirect shots, but you better believe Mike Shanahan is fuming hearing what his hand-picked quarterback said post game. I'll be the first to say I wish Griffin would blame himself for a loss. It would've been refreshing. But I've realized this kind of behavior shouldn't come as a surprise from him. After 20-years of horrendous quarterbacking, his worth to the future of the Redskins is astronomical in size.
Think of it this way...Let's say Channel 9 traded three first round picks to make me the next Jim Rome. Or Scott Van Pelt. Whatever floats your boat. My first year with Channel 9 I completely flip the ratings our way for the first time in forever. The people hail that I'm a prodigy destined for greatness. Then, for a variety of reasons, things suddenly go to hell in year two. As a young star, why would I point the finger on myself? I'd blame the news director. I'd blame producers. When we were winning, it was all because of me. All of you were losers before me.
That's why Griffin has the Shanahan's handcuffed. Their two years before Griffin were such a disaster -- inheriting a bad roster or not -- that it makes doubting the staff effortless at this point. Now with a 3-7 record, the coaches can't blame themselves either, or they're digging their own grave. If RGIII truly thinks he needs a better coach, Dan Snyder won't hesitate to give him one.
Whatever my colleague Darrell Green says or doesn't say, RGIII is the de facto leader of the Washington Redskins. He built up the price of his real estate by winning the NFC East and the rookie of the year. Not many players on the roster would know what winning in the NFL would taste like without Griffin. So they've bought into his abilities -- as a quarterback and in what he says.
So in turn, Griffin is young enough to make you think his growing pains come with the territory. And he's wise enough to blame other aspects on the Shanahan's -- a coaching staff who couldn't string seven wins together before RGIII's arrival. To me, Griffin painted a clear picture Sunday at the podium: my coaches are more responsible for us sucking than I am.
I tend to agree more with RGIII in this situation. He's been sloppy in four of the ten games. He's been knocked back to earth -- a process he skipped last season during the miracle run. I have more faith that RGIII will improve with time than I do with the coaches. Kyle Shanahan has been more inconsistent than his quarterback and for some reason is scared to take chances with Griffin's superior arm strength. Outside of the triple-option wrinkle, the offense did not evolve enough when it mattered this season, even with all of the same weapons -- including a fully healthy Pierre Garcon.
Griffin is strategic with his image. As he should be. At times he can be a larger than life icon. I won't let him off the hook for under performing in 2013 though. Redskins fans will give him a free pass this season for the most part. They'll continue to swallow his spoon fed messages on how the team is family and that we won't see quit in his guys. But until we hear the Redskins quarterback start saying "my fault," while he stands at the podium, Darrell Green's harsh opinion on RGIII's leadership tendencies may not be entirely false.