Extra Points: RG3 takes first step in winning back Redskins

(SportsNetwork.com) – Haters are gonna hate.

It’s what they do but Robert Griffin III proved he should be the Washington
Redskins quarterback in Minneapolis on Sunday.

You’re usually not making that kind of a declarative statement after a loss
but the embattled former Heisman Trophy winner did everything he could in the
29-26 setback, until the closing moments at least.

Griffin had Pierre Garcon open for what would have been a 4th-down conversion
to keep the Redskins alive but didn’t get his feet set and misfired, virtually
sealing things for the Vikings.

The bad mechanics resulted in a poor, short-armed throw, giving the RG3 haters
a talking point in an effort to further the nonsensical Colt McCoy hype.

Forget the fact that one bad throw late and another ill-conceived one which
resulted in a Captain Munnerlyn interception in the first half were
about the only instances in which Griffin showed any rust despite being on the
shelf since dislocating his ankle in Week 2 against Jacksonville.

He finished 18-of-28 for 251 yards with a touchdown and an interception
against a Mike Zimmer-led Vikings defense which always brings the heat.

“It was not good enough to win,” Griffin said of his performance. “I have to
play better for that happen.”

The Vikings, who came into the game second in the NFL in sacks, got to RG3
six different times and laid the wood him on a number of those hits, including
some Griffen-on-Griffin crime when Minnesota’s “Sack Daddy” Everson Griffen
flashed his own brand of freaky athleticism.

Also rookie linebacker Anthony Barr, who is quickly becoming a star for the
Vikings, really tested Griffin’s ankle early in the first quarter, blasting
through the middle of the line on one of Zimmer’s patented A-gap blitzes,
violently throwing the quarterback to the turf by his oft-injured legs.

Griffin looked hurt for a minute but shook it off and kept Washington
competitive throughout.

You’ll be hearing a lot about D.C. being broken in advance of Tuesday’s mid-
term elections and that dysfunction has evidently branched out to the city’s
football team.

Before the game ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that multiple members
of the Redskins organization told him that they believed the decision to go
back to Griffin and away from McCoy was driven by owner Daniel Snyder,
the long-time president of the RG3 fan club, and general manager Bruce Allen.

The second shot from Schefter’s left and right to Griffin’s psyche said
support with his teammates is not nearly as strong as the love he’s getting
from the owner and GM.

Of course all of that paints first-year coach Jay Gruden in a poor light and
as a guy who not only favored McCoy but one who is powerless in the
organization, sentiments you don’t want to inject into any locker room.

Redskins P.R. man Tony Wyllie, he of the now famous “no means no” decree to an
ESPN employee after the ‘Skins win in Dallas in Week 8, strongly denied the
report, telling ESPN it was the “coach Gruden’s decision, and the owner has
nothing to do with it — scratch that.”

“That was amateurish report. … reported by amateur,” a grumpy Gruden said
after the game.

To be blunt, this does seem like a Snyder decision if only because
Washington’s bye week was looming after this game and it just made sense
medically to let RG3 rest for another two weeks with an eye on Nov. 16 and the
now 1-7 Buccaneers.

Gruden is too smart to believe McCoy is a better option but no one knows
Zimmer better from their days together in Cincinnati. The coach’s take was
likely an effort to protect RG3, understanding the Bucs play a soft, coverage-
based defense, instead of the attacking unit Minnesota unleashed on Griffin

The biggest issue for RG3 himself, though, remains the fact that he isn’t all
that popular with pockets of his teammates. Griffin needs to work on his
people skills, perhaps more than his football acumen.

It’s telling that certain players can look at a turnover machine like
Kirk Cousins or a limited player like McCoy and twist themselves into pretzels
to try to convince themselves that those players give them a better chance to
win than RG3.

“I can’t worry about the negativity swirling around,” Griffin said. “Someday I
believe it’ll stop.”