(ABC)–Robert Griffin III was hard on himself plenty of times when talking about his performance in the Washington Redskins’ latest embarrassing loss in an embarrassing season.
And, a couple of times, he lumped his teammates in with him, and that concerns coach Jay Gruden.
“Robert needs to understand he needs to worry about himself, No. 1, and not everybody else,” Gruden said Monday. “It’s his job to worry about his position, his footwork, his fundamentals, his reads, his progressions – his job at the quarterback position. It’s my job to worry about everybody else.”
Griffin was about as self-critical as he could be in the moments after Sunday’s 27-7 home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that dropped the Redskins to 3-7. He blamed himself for taking six sacks and admitted he’s not seeing the field well. He also challenged his teammates by saying that “great quarterbacks” such as Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning “don’t play well if their guys don’t play well.”
That last comment, and one or two others, might have crossed a line with some people
Receiver DeSean Jackson, who supported Griffin in a team meeting two weeks ago, appeared to strike back Monday morning with an Instagram post that said: “You can’t do epic (stuff) with basic people.”
Gruden said he addressed the matter with Griffin on Monday.
“It’s our job in-house as players and coaches to make sure we say the right things and not let your words get twisted by the media or anybody,” Gruden said. “Not give anybody an opportunity to do that. Otherwise it’ll be he-said, she-said things and there will be Twitter wars and social media events that will get out of control, and we’ve got to put a stop to it now.”
Nevertheless, Griffin took to Facebook and Twitter on Monday afternoon and gave his own retort.
“It’s unfortunate that anyone would take a piece of my press conference and say I threw my teammates under the bus,” Griffin posted. “I would never throw my teammates under the bus! I take responsibility for my play & will play better.”
Beyond all the words, there’s a much deeper concern with longer-range implications. In his third season, after 32 NFL starts, Griffin is still misfiring on some basics of the quarterback position. While Gruden was critical of everyone’s play on Sunday, his review of Griffin was startling.
“Robert had some fundamental flaws,” Gruden said. “He did. His footwork was below average. He took three-step drops when he should have taken five. He took a one-step drop when he should have taken three, on a couple occasions, and that can’t happen. He stepped up when he didn’t have to step up and stepped into pressure. He read the wrong side of the field a couple times. So, from his basic performance, just critiquing Robert, it was not even close to being good enough to what we expect from that quarterback position.”
The second of Griffin’s two interceptions Sunday came after he locked onto the receiver too long, allowing a linebacker to read the quarterback’s eyes and deflect the ball. Gruden said Griffin’s problems were symptomatic of someone who needs to play with “a little bit greater poise.”
It’s been more than 12 months since Griffin won a game in which he both started and finished. Griffin likes to talk about being great. Gruden said it’s maybe time to just concentrate on getting the job done.
“Sometimes you don’t need great,” Gruden said. “You don’t need to lead at that position on every snap. And he’s obviously very competitive, but we just need him to do what he’s supposed to do. You know, just take your drops the right way and throw the five-yard stick route when you’re supposed to and do the best you can.
“Sometimes he worries about a little bit too much, but he’s a great competitor and we’ve just got to try to get him better.”