What was Robert Griffin III thinking? Those words probably best describe most sports fans’ reactions after getting caught up in the media frenzy caused by the outspoken Washington Redskins quarterback for his exceedingly bold assertion during an interview with WJLA-TV.
“I don’t feel like I have to come out here and show anybody anything or why I’m better than this guy or better than that guy,” said Griffin.
“It’s more about going out and affirming that for me, I go out and I play; I know I’m the best quarterback on this team.
I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league and I have to go out and show that.”
For a guy with three seasons in the NFL, whose stats have gotten progressively worse, it seems like such an erroneous claim to make.
When I first heard this quote out of context, my immediate reaction was, “Why?”
I’d like for him to show me something before he proclaims himself as one of the best in the league, if not the best.
How can the former Heisman winner from Baylor University believe he is the best quarterback in the league?
Maybe he was the best player in college football in 2011, but this is 2015 and he’s certainly not the best player in the NFL now.
This is a guy who’s total quarterback rating last season would’ve ranked 29 out of 32 (Griffin, who only played in nine games last season, didn’t have enough pass attempts to actually qualify on the list).
But let’s face it; Griffin hasn’t always handled the media well in terms of saying things that avoid making headlines. Baylor head coach Art Briles knows this all too well.
“He’s always had a way of stating his opinion that can be misinterpreted and we’ve always talked about that and dealt with it,” said Briles.
“But that’s a part of the position he’s in, when you’re an elite athlete and known across the nation, you have to be conscious of what you’re saying and how it’s going to be interpreted.”
Briles could not be more precise. Griffin realizes the spotlight he’s under and there’s no doubt in my mind that he knew what attention his statement would bring. The ex-Baylor QB needs to learn how to conduct himself since so many eyes are watching him.
So what does Briles think about his bold statement?
“He’s not going to mince words about it … he means what he’s saying and you’re talking to a guy (Briles) that’s going to support him 100 percent,” said Briles.
“If he feels [like he’s the best quarterback in the league], then that’s the way I feel.”
Let me just say this now: I bleed Green and Gold just like Griffin and Briles, and will always have a rooting interest for Baylor alumni in professional sports, no matter the team.
However, I also drink from the cup of reality, and to think that Griffin is on the same level of an Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, or a Peyton Manning is entirely ludicrous.
However, when looking at the quote in its entirety, I actually don’t believe Griffin meant exactly what the expedient media portrayed him to mean.
Take a look at the rest of the 25-year-old quarterback’s statement..
“Any athlete at any level, if they concede to someone else, they’re not a top competitor, they’re not trying to be the best that they can be,” said Griffin.
“There’s guys in this league that have done way more than me. But I still view myself as the best because that’s what I work toward every single day.”
Now that’s undoubtedly an honorable goal and I wish him all the luck in the world in accomplishing that feat.
I absolutely feel that there’s some validity in that statement in regards to competitiveness.
After all, in order to reach the highest pinnacle of success, quarterbacks and all players for that matter in the NFL have to be emboldened with an inordinate amount of competitive drive – which Griffin has without a doubt.
So all Redskins fans should be happy to hear their quarterback exuding with confidence, right? Not exactly.
I get what he was saying about being competitive but completely disagree with him uttering those words.
You just don’t make that kind of statement in the name of professionalism. Ex-NFL player, head coach and ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards also had some things to say on the matter in a recent interview with ESPN.
“I’ve always said this: ‘praise others, never praise yourself’. [Praising others is] up to the head coach. I’ve always told players that I’ll take care of them if they’re playing [well]. That’s my job. [They] just go play quarterback,” Edwards said.
Edwards statement makes perfect sense and I agree with it 100 percent. Griffin should follow that advice for the rest of his career and learn from the quarterbacks at the top of the game.
Look at the best quarterbacks in the league – Rodgers, Brady, and Manning – and how they handle themselves in the media. Sure, deep down every one of them feels the same way about being the best, because they’re competitors… but they’ll never say it.
They know how to conduct themselves around the media and say all the right things – the definitions of consummate professionals.
With that being said, Griffin still has a long way to go before he can be considered as one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
I’m talking about his game and his professionalism.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden knows he will need the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year to perform well this year.
“He has to go out and prove it and stay healthy and then continue to play,” said Gruden.
“The whole thing about great quarterbacks and top-notch quarterbacks is they’re durable, and they do it year in and year out, game in and game out.
We have to do our best to keep him healthy, and he has to do his best to perform.”
That will be the key – keeping Griffin healthy, who has not proven to be very resistant to injury in his first three NFL seasons.
In his rookie campaign, he was able to throw for 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
Since then, he hasn’t produced anywhere near the same level of success in the NFL.
By making such an audacious claim, Griffin seemingly ordered his own ultimatum which could signify this as a do-or-die season for the former No. 2 pick.
Only time will tell if he can make improvements to his game and learn to handle the spotlight as a professional.
History is against him, but we’ve seen guys make the necessary changes before it was too late. He just needs to play the game and talk less.