Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden has distanced himself from quarterback Robert Griffin III over the last seven days, making it clear that his regime is not tied to the player who was supposed to transform the franchise.
On Sunday there were multiple reports that Gruden had the ability to bench RGIII.
Those reports came after Gruden pointedly criticised the quarterback at a Monday press conference. He was unusually specific and blunt about what RGIII did wrong in Week 11:
“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 the quarterback position.”
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported on Sunday that Gruden got some “positive feedback” within the organisation for his RGIII criticism, which further empowered him to give RGIII a short leash against the 49ers in Week 12.
Rapoport said the organisation is starting to turn on him, even cutting off his family from special access to the team:
“Things certainly have changed for RGIII over the past several of years. There are no more special rules for him. His wife used to be allowed where other wives were not in training camp. His family essentially had an all access pass to the facility. That is no longer the case. So the Redskins, what they have tried to do is do everything they can to have RGIII be successful. They went back and studied the 2012 tape and there are doubts internally that he has the skills — the physical skills to be the kind of player he was back then. In fact, I’m told by sources they have actually instructed him, don’t run. We don’t want you to get hurt.”
Rapoport added that owner Dan Snyder is no longer instructing coaches to tamp down their criticism of the quarterback.
Last week Gruden spoke to Albert Breer of NFL.com, and he was pretty brutal in his assessment of RGIII. He called Griffin “coddled” and said he’s running out of time to develop into a first-string quarterback. From Gruden:
“He’s auditioned long enough. Clock’s ticking. He’s gotta play. We’ll see. … We want Robert to excel, we really do. But the last two games, it hasn’t been very good, anywhere. We gotta play better around him. And the biggest thing for us as play-callers, and for him, we just have to come together and jell with plays he’s comfortable with. That takes time. But we don’t have a lot of time.”
Gruden didn’t draft Griffin, and as his first season goes down in flames, he’s clearing doing his best to place the blame on his quarterback.
Griffin was 11 for 19 for 106 yards in Sunday’s 17-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He was sacked five times, but not benched.
The team has until May to decide whether to pick up Griffin’s extension through 2016. If they don’t pick up that option, 2015 would be the final year of his contract with the team.
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