One day after teammate Santana Moss criticized him on a local radio program, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III addressed a simmering issue that suggested a divided locker room was plaguing his struggling team.
Moss had told 106.7 The Fan’s Lavar and Dukes show on Tuesday that he wished Griffin had taken personal responsibility for his last-minute interception in Sunday’s crippling 24-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The two players talked before practice on Wednesday, however, and insisted they have no issues with each other. Griffin addressed general criticism of his leadership style later in the afternoon when he met with the media.
“You don’t say anything to the guys when it comes to that [leadership],” Griffin said. “The second you start changing and letting what outside people say affect what you do is the time that guys start to not believe in you. So you don’t do that. You go out to practice every day ready to work. Me and [Moss] talked. We’re on the same page and we just want to beat San Francisco. That’s all that matters to us right now.”
One of Griffin’s quotes following the Philadelphia loss appeared critical of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and the offensive game plan. The quarterback said he only meant to praise the Eagles for their defensive preparation, not take shots at his own coaching staff and that needs to do a better job of speaking so that his words aren’t misinterpreted.
Moss also spoke with reporters on Wednesday. He still contended that even if a specific play isn’t entirely Griffin’s fault, by shouldering the blame the quarterback keeps it from becoming a major media story, which it clearly did. ESPN, on programming throughout the day on Wednesday, discussed possible dysfunction in the Washington locker room. That’s a notion multiple players disputed.
“In the past where I’ve seen teams start to unravel you’ll start to get a lot of bickering amongst players, a lot of snappiness in the locker room,” veteran linebacker London Fletcher said. “You’ll start to see people huddling around little corners holding their conversations. And you’ll start to see finger pointing, frustration starts to come out. But that’s not happening around here. We’re 3-7. We’re not happy where we are. I think a lot of times things are blown out of proportion.”
Fletcher insisted that there are Redskins coaches who have stood up in meetings and taken blame for putting players in bad positions. The same has happened with individual players. With their lockers right next to each other in the Washington locker room, Fletcher and Griffin have had a chance to communicate often on such issues, according to the quarterback.
With the second-year player standing just feet away, listening, Fletcher on Wednesday spent several minutes in an impassioned defense of Griffin in front of local reporters. Moss and Fletcher are just the latest players to insist that the locker room hasn’t turned against Griffin or each other.
“What I was saying is that, for future references and if you’re ever put in this situation again — anybody — it’s how we can control it so there won’t be no confusion,” Moss said. “Because if you nip it in the bud right then and there then you don’t have to worry about that story being [turned] somewhere else.”
Griffin said he also clarified his comments in a meeting with coach Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan. He also took personal responsibility for the final interception of the game, which sealed the loss in the final minute as Washington pushed for a potential tying score.
“You just have to shut it all out. And I have had to deal with criticism in my life. I dealt with two 4-8 seasons at Baylor,” Griffin said. “It’s nothing like this at this level in the NFL, but you can’t look at that stuff. You have to come into work and put your phone away. You can’t look at any of that stuff out there.
“The means to get news nowadays, there’s so many different ways to do it and you just can’t look at it. You’ve got to block it out and never change who you are as a person, as a player, as a teammate, and just keep pushing forward.”