RGIII was one of the favorites to be signed by the Cowboys by many fans and the media alike. Shocking reports from a teammate reveal that he was unliked by many of the players.
The old adage is that no one player is above the team: apparently RGIII didn’t get the memo. The Washington redskins elected to release him before the 2016 league year officially began on Wednesday March 9th, 2016.
They in turn used the $19.5 million franchise tag on Kirk Cousins and resigned Colt McCoy to a three year deal as I previously indicated they pretty much had to do.
This comes as quite a surprise to some Redskins fans (others not so much) considering the team mortgaged their future back in 2012 to draft RGIII by giving up two first round draft picks and an additional 2nd round pick to trade up to the #2 spot and draft what they thought was their franchise quarterback for years to come. I had heard rumors that RGIII had the “ME” syndrome, but it went much deeper than that. Per an article in The Washington Post:
Chris Cooley — a former teammate of RGIII’s, who was also among the harshest critics of Griffin’s play in 2014 — looked back on the past four years during several segments on ESPN 980 on Monday afternoon, offering a level of candor we didn’t always hear in real time. Cooley’s thoughts were perhaps most interesting when he talked about his impressions of the Griffin-Kirk Cousins relationship.
“There’s always a working relationship,” Cooley said at the beginning of the discussion with co-host Al Galdi. “There’s a working relationship where guys show up and they work. I would drink a beer with Mike Shanahan today; I did not like him as a head coach. I like him as a dude. That said, I don’t think Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin are going to be drinking any beers together. One, Robert doesn’t drink, [and] Kirk rarely drinks. But there was never a friendship relationship. From the moment Kirk was drafted, I think Robert had animosity towards him. A lot of people in this area hated that fourth-round pick; I don’t think anyone hated it as much as RGIII hated it.”
“Robert was never willing to be friends with Kirk Cousins,” Cooley said. “They never hung out together, they never spent time together, their families didn’t hang out together. … It was never a great relationship. I don’t think Robert ever wanted it to be a great relationship. And I think it became really contentious over the last two years, to where Rex Grossman, a guy who I’m close with, said ‘This is weird in here. This is a bad situation in here. These guys don’t like each other.”
“Colt McCoy had to deal with some stuff,” Cooley said. “Two years of who should be the starter, constant competition between a guy who doesn’t want to handle competition. And I think there was respect. I think there was enough working respect. But you have to understand, there’s a group of quarterbacks on every team, usually three, sometimes two. There’s a quarterbacks coach. Seventy-five percent of their professional time is spent in just that meeting room. Really. Quarterbacks spend more time [in meetings] than anybody else. Seventy-five percent of their time is spent not talking to each other, in the same room. That’s got to be so hard. You deal with it, but that’s got to be so weird.”
McCoy hinted at some of this to Mike Jones and Liz Clarke, mentioning the “difficult circumstances” last season with RGIII, and how “it was one of the most unusual rooms I’ve ever been a part of.”
“There was not a friendship there,” Cooley said. “Now again, I don’t know if it’s even relevant, but I just think it’s so interesting, and I just think it plays into so much of how much Robert disliked anyone ever challenging what he was. And when people started to challenge that Kirk might be the guy, it became even worse. It became even more awkward. Let me stop with that.”
Cooley also spoke explicitly of the longstanding impression that some of Griffin’s teammates did not enjoy playing with him.
“The offensive line did not like Robert Griffin,” Cooley said. “A lot of the receivers did not like Robert Griffin. The offensive line had a problem with Robert, because they were considered for a year-and-a-half or two years a terrible offensive line that couldn’t protect a quarterback. A lot of that isn’t true. A lot of that was Robert. A lot of the sacks were put on Robert. Want to believe it or not, they were, okay? Football-wise, they were: it was Robert.”
“Robert never took [responsibility] for that,” Cooley said. “Robert continued to let his offensive line eat the blame. They don’t like it. They hate that, man. That kills them. Perception is the only thing an offensive line has, because 99 percent of people watching football have no idea what an offensive line’s doing.”
“Receivers didn’t like playing with Robert, because they didn’t get the ball,” Cooley said. “It was never consistent, other than a couple in 2012; they struggled with that. So they didn’t like Robert. … Robert did have friends, of course he had friends, but there were a lot of guys on this team that said it doesn’t benefit me — as a player, as an individual — and we don’t know if it benefits the team with him under center at this point. That was what really happened in that locker room, in talking to a lot of those guys. That’s not me saying I think they would have perceived it this way. It’s me talking to a lot of players in this locker room, as friends, and understanding why the dislike or why the problem.”
Cooley also talked about RGIII making comments that offended his teammates to the media following Cousins’ win over the Browns back in 2012.
“The press conference was unprecedented, and it showed a little bitch in him,” Cooley said. “Not that he is that as a person, but it showed that characteristic, of ‘I can be a little bitch if I need to be a little bitch. I can make just enough noise if I need to make just enough noise.’ I don’t think anybody liked that. That was actually seen amongst the team as dude, we still won the game. We actually had to win this game to keep our playoff hopes alive. … All of it really starts to tie together towards the end of that season.”
“I think it was tough for Robert, knowing that there was a guy like Kirk over his shoulder,” Cooley said. “And I think it was tough as well because even in 2012 the players bonded a lot with Kirk. He showed a lot of promise in practice, he showed a lot of promise in the preseason games, and I’m sure there was always that thought that ‘I might not lose this job because he outplays me but if I’m hurt for a month I could potentially lose the job,’ or ‘This guy could step in and play some,’ or ‘The fans might like him more,’ or ‘The team might like him more.’ I think there was always that thought in Robert’s mind.”
Many believed that RGIII was benched because he was either unhealthy, or unable to perform his duties. Based on what his former teammate said, perhaps it was mainly because he lost the team. He was treated like a God at Baylor, but upon entering the NFL, he was just another kid trying to keep his job. As a QB in the NFL you have to be the leader. Part of being the leader is maintaining a good relationship with your teammates. There is no room for animosity toward the other QBs in the room. A true leader would be doing anything in his power to try and help his fellow QB while he was injured.
I’m not going to lie. I was never a fan of Matt Cassel and never will be, but he is a professional and when he was benched in favor of Kellen Moore (not as the result of injury) he was right there with Tony Romo to try and help him along anyway he could. That’s what teammates do.
The best analogy I can think of is “Steamin Willie Beamen” in Al Pacino’s “On Any Given Sunday.”. All of the media hype RGIII got went to his head and he lost the respect of the players. The last people on God’s green earth that a QB wants to piss off are his offensive line. It kinda makes you wonder if they missed some blocks on purpose to teach him a lesson.
The main issue I had with RGIII coming out of college was him being a run first quarterback. Rather than having the “I” syndrome, an NFL QB needs to be able to make his reads and if the WR is open, throw him the ball. If there is one thing that will piss off a receiver, it’s working his tail off, getting open, and the QB decides to run rather than throw him the ball. Except on those occasions when the play is called as a run, or when the protection breaks down forcing the QB to run, he should be spreading the ball around.
I understand they were running a Read Option offense, but RGIII was more concerned about padding his own stats than spreading the wealth with his receivers. It is my guess the Cowboys’ coaches spoke with Jay Gruden and learned that RGIII is a selfish and immature man that was all about himself and not the team. It was a good decision not to sign him.
It is apparent to me that RGIII wasn’t benched or cut so much because of his health, but because he lost the respect of his teammates and they didn’t want to play for him.
There is a lot of speculation that RGIII will find a home in Denver now that Brock Osweiler moved on to Houston, but I would advise John Elway to use extreme caution. Peyton Manning was the definition of a leader and teammate.
I really don’t think RGIII will last 5 minutes in that locker room based on his behavior in Washington.
Tony Romo is the same type of leader as Manning, and I don’t think the players in Dallas would have responded well to his childish ways either. Kudos to the Jones family for not making the mistake of signing him Monday. I truly hope they don’t decide to do so if Denver doesn’t, simply because he became cheap.