RG III Finished in NFL? One Coach thinks so

robert-griffin-iii-2015If you’re betting on the Washington Redskins in 2015, don’t count on Robert Griffin III leading them at quarterback. Much of the league still questions whether the talented QB will be able to overcome the immense struggles that have plagued him ever since 2012, when he won Offensive Rookie of the Year award and turned the league upside down with his running and throwing abilities.

“There’s no coming back,” said an anonymous NFL offensive coach. “He is done. The reason is, the injury slowed his legs, and his ego will not allow him to hit rock bottom and actually grind his way back up the right way.”

The coach is referring to a knee injury that RG III suffered in the 2012 NFL playoffs, one that he played through while causing further damage to his knee. Following surgery in the 2013 offseason, his running abilities or overall production haven’t been the same since. And these problems have only been compounded by what many deem to be a primadonna attitude from the young signal caller.

“To get better in this league, you have to have a degree of humility,” a personnel director told ESPN’s Mike Sando. “… When (Griffin) looks in the mirror, he is seeing things that everybody else is not seeing. That is why I was surprised when they gave him the fifth-year (option) and said it was an easy decision.”

In addition to these anonymous coaches questioning RG III, former Washington head coach Mike Shanahan also weighed in – though he doesn’t directly point to the knee injury or attitude as the problem.

robert-griffin-knee“I don’t think getting hurt has anything to do with (Griffin’s regression),” Shanahan said. “You don’t have to have great running ability to run the read-option. You have to be able to know when to slide, when to throw the football away, depending on if you’re running or passing.”

Shanahan believes that there may be hope yet for Griffin, especially since he’s still in the process of adjusting to Jay Gruden’s new offensive system.

“I know how hard it is for a quarterback to go into a system for the first time,” said one NFL general manager. “With Griffin, I’m taking into account the new offense, the new personality at head coach, coming off an injury. He showed his rookie year that he could be a (top tier QB). He is a young guy. I’m going to give him the benefit because of that.”

Like Shanahan, there’s still a fair amount of NFL coaches who believe that it’s a little premature to give up on a 25-year-old quarterback, especially one who threw for 3,200 yards and rushed for another 815 yards just three years ago.

New Washington GM Scot McCloughan is among this crowd, citing that it would be ridiculous to cut ties with him already. “I think this season is going to tell a lot,” said McCloughan.

The new GM is certainly right about this, given that Griffin has a lot to prove after playing just nine games last year, and throwing 4 TDs and 6 INTs before getting benched in favor of Colt McCoy.

The Redskins bring back their same quarterback quartet of Kirk Cousins, McCoy and Griffin, all three of whom started games last season. It’s tough to say who will win the starting job out of training camp; but if Griffin can get back to his 2012 level and show some maturity, then he definitely has a good chance.

2013 Black Monday: 5 NFL Coaches fired

jim-schwartz-lionsEvery year, the Monday following Week 17 of the NFL regular season is a testy time for losing coaches. This year’s Black Monday was especially brutal as five coaches got the ax. Here’s a look at the unlucky coaches who were fired, along with a few that are still awaiting word on their futures.

Firings

Rob Chudzinski, Cleveland Browns – The Browns didn’t give Chudzinski much time to turn things around in Cleveland. They fired their rookie head coach immediately after his first season ended with a 4-12 record. What was particularly disheartening is that the Browns lost 10 out of their last 11 games. Cleveland ownership voiced disappointment over a “lack of accountability and effort” from Chud’s players. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ name has come up in the rumors involving the coaching search.

Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings – The writing has been on the wall for Frazier for quite some time after the team’s slow start and a disastrous quarterback carousel. Minnesota ownership was hoping that the Vikings would take another step forward after making the playoffs last year; instead, they finished just 5-10-1. Team officials have been working on potential replacements for weeks, and they’ve asked about Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase.

greg-schiano-hot-seatGreg Schiano, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tampa Bay is a team that was built to win this season. Instead, they suffered through a 4-12 season under second-year coach Greg Schiano. Management was concerned that players were no longer responding to Schiano’s hard-driving style, and the Josh Freeman quarterback controversy didn’t help matters. General manager Mark Dominik was also a casualty on Black Monday.

Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions – No team collapsed as badly as the Lions did down the stretch. After climbing to the top of the NFC North with a 6-3 record, they lost 6 out of their last 7 contests and missed the postseason. Management had already made the decision on Schwartz’s job when the team was eliminated from postseason contention last week.

mike-shanahan-hot-seatMike Shanahan, Washington Redskins – The drama regarding Mike Shanahan has finally come to an end with his Monday morning firing. He was fired after a 3-13 record, which was the second worst in the league. It was no secret that Shanahan clashed with management over what he perceived as their babying of quarterback Robert Griffin III. The matter came to a conclusion when RG III was benched for the final three games to “prevent any injuries.”

Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans – Kubiak wasn’t a Black Monday firing, but rather axed on December 12th after the team had lost 11 straight games. Team management also didn’t like the way that Kubiak handled the quarterback situation between Matt Schaub and Case Keenum. Add in the fact that many expected Houston to contend for a Super Bowl and it’s pretty clear why Kubiak was fired. Several candidates have already been interviewed, including former Bears coach Lovie Smith, Penn State coach Bill O’Brien and Texans interim coach Wade Phillips.

Still Uncertain

dennis-allen-oaklandDennis Allen, Oakland Raiders – Before Oakland played the Denver Broncos, it was generally thought that both coach Dennis Allen and GM Reggie McKenzie would be safe. However, there are no guarantees following a 4-12 season, which ended with an embarrassing 34-14 loss to Denver, where the Broncos were leading 31-0 at halftime.

Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys – For the second year in a row, Garrett’s team lost the NFC East on the final game of the season. Owner Jerry Jones appears likely to keep Garrett, but defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s job could be in serious jeopardy.

Joe Philbin, Miami Dolphins – Miami was in the driver’s seat of their playoff destiny, but finished with losses to two subpar teams (Buffalo, NY Jets) to close out the season. Owner Stephen Ross didn’t exactly give any vote of confidence after saying that he has “a lot to think about” with regard to Philbin and GM Jeff Ireland’s jobs.

mike-munchak-tennesseeMike Munchak, Tennessee Titans – It was another up-and-down season for the Titans, with them finishing 7-9 and missing the playoffs. And the hard-running, clock-management style that Tennessee is trying to push faltered in the middle of the season. Star running back Chris Johnson won’t be back. Is the same true of Munchack?

Job Security

Tom Coughlin, New York Giants – Two years removed from a Super Bowl, nobody expected Tom Coughlin to be coaching for his job. However, a dismal 0-6 start got the press talking about Coughlin’s future with the organization. But early word is that, following a 7-3 finish to the season, it’s up to Coughlin to decide if he wants to stay with the team.

Rex Ryan, New York Jets – Many believe that Ryan did a commendable job with the Jets since this season was projected to be a rebuilding effort. However, Ryan coached them to a .500 record and ended the year on a positive note with two straight wins.

NFL Power Rankings for Week 15 (Dec. 11, 2013)

marlon-brown-baltimoreWeek 14 was possibly the most exciting weekend in NFL history. There were wild finishes, blizzard-covered fields, and career-defining moments – all within the span of one day. Here’s a recap of some of the extremely exciting games from last Sunday:

1. The Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings set an NFL record when the lead changed hands six times in the fourth quarter. The last 2:05 of this contest was particularly noteworthy, as five touchdowns were scored. Among them included a 79-yard pass, a 73-yard kick return, and a 41-yard rushing TD. Baltimore got the final critical score to take this hard-fought game.

2. The Cleveland Browns appeared well on their way to a major upset, winning 26-14 with just 2:39 left. But then Tom Brady happened…leading the Patriots to 2 touchdowns, one thanks to an onside-kick recovery.

3. Pittsburgh and Miami already played a crazy game in the snow that saw five different lead changes. But it got really bizarre on the last play, with the Steelers needing to score a TD from 80 yards out to win. Ben Roethlisberger tossed a short pass that was lateraled around several times, before Antonio Brown took it for what appeared to be a 70-yard touchdown. The only problem: his left foot hit the sideline on this long run.

4. With an early 14-0 lead and a snowstorm on their side, it looked like Detroit would cruise to an easy win over Philadelphia. However, the Eagles came “storming” back, outscoring Detroit 34-6 to grab victory.

It’s highly unlikely that the remaining weeks will live up to what fans witnessed in Week 14. But we can all hope for a couple wild finishes as we enter Week 15 of the NFL season.

1. Denver Broncos (11-2); beat Tennessee 51-28, retains same ranking – It was yet another banner offensive day for the Broncos, with Peyton Manning throwing for 397 yards and four TD’s and Matt Prater setting an NFL record with a 64-yard field goal. Knowshon Moreno and Monte Ball also combined for 155 yards and 2 TD’s on the ground.

2. Seattle Seahawks (11-2); lost to San Francisco 19-17, retains same ranking – A week after dominating the Saints at home, Seattle goes out on the road and drops a narrow game to San Francisco. So why are they keeping the second spot? How about their 29-3 drubbing of the Niners earlier in the year. And don’t forget that they also hold a 2-game lead over San Francisco.

frank-gore-san-francisco3. San Francisco 49ers (9-4), beat Seattle 19-17, moves up one spot – San Francisco relied on a 110-yard rushing effort from Frank Gore to pull this close game out. Gore broke a 51-yarder late in the fourth quarter to set up Phil Dawson for a game-winning field goal. But with three games left, it’s doubtful that this contest will help the Niners win the NFC West.

4. New England Patriots (10-3), beat Cleveland 27-26, drops one spot – After allowing Jason Campbell to light them up, the Patriots got some late-game heroics with less than 3 minutes left. We admire New England’s resolve to come back and win. But this is now three weeks in a row that they’ve had to crawl out of an early deficit.

5. New Orleans Saints (10-3); beat Carolina 31-13, retains same ranking – The Saints continue to be excellent at home after walloping their division rivals. We still have questions about New Orleans’ ability to win away from home. But you certainly can’t question Drew Brees, who threw for 313 yards and four TD’s on one of the league’s best defenses.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3); beat Washington 45-10, moves up one spot – There’s no better way to stop a three-game losing streak than to play Washington at home. Kansas City ripped the Redskins on the strength of 321 return yards in the first half alone. Quintin Demps’ 95-yard kickoff return highlighted this incredible output.

andy-dalton7. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4); beat Indianapolis 42-28, moves up one spot – Cincinnati continued their ascension in the AFC by beating the Bengals. Andy Dalton led this effort with 326 passing yards and four touchdowns. Cincy will no doubt be hoping to host a playoff game or two at Paul Brown Stadium, where they’re 6-0 this season.

8. Carolina Panthers (9-4); lost to New Orleans 31-13, drops one spot – On the center stage for the first time in years, Carolina couldn’t deliver. Their defense, which hadn’t allowed more than two touchdowns in a game all year, looked helpless in giving up three TD’s in the second quarter alone.

9. Philadelphia Eagles (8-5); beat Detroit 34-20, moves up two spots – As we explained earlier, the Eagles fought back from a 14-0 deficit amid snowy conditions. A huge thanks can be given to LeSean McCoy, who rushed for a franchise-record 217 yards and two TD’s.

10. Arizona Cardinals (8-5); beat St. Louis 30-10, moves up three spots – Karlos Dansby had his second interception-return TD in the last three games as Arizona walked away with this one. Larry Fitzgerald had a good day, catching 12 passes for 96 yards and a TD.

11. Indianapolis Colts (8-5); lost to Cincinnati 42-28, drops two spots – The Colts may have clinched the AFC South, but it had little to do with how they’ve been playing lately. The secondary was ripped by Dalton, and a slow start also doomed the Colts. About the only positive thing Indy can take away here is that Andrew Luck had his first great game in a while, throwing for 326 yards and four TD’s.

12. Dallas Cowboys (7-6); lost to Chicago 45-28, drops two spots – This was yet another game where the Cowboys defense turned in a very disappointing performance. They gave up 348 passing yards to Josh McCown and allowed the Bears to score on their first eight possessions.

lesean-mccoy13. Detroit Lions (7-6); lost to Philadelphia 34-20, drops one spot – A week after completely shutting down Green Bay’s rushing attack, the Lions looked like they’d never seen snow as McCoy torched them for 217 yards. Of course, it also didn’t help matters that Detroit fumbled seven times, losing three of them. The turnovers and poor run defense negated an amazing day by Jeremy Ross, who had two return touchdowns.

14. Baltimore Ravens (7-6); beat Minnesota 29-26, retains same ranking – Baltimore was mired in a pretty boring game with Minnesota, that is until the last 125 seconds anyways. Following four touchdowns in this short span, Joe Flacco hooked up with Marlon Brown for a fifth and game-winning TD.

15. Miami Dolphins (7-6); beat Pittsburgh Steelers 34-28, retains same ranking – Miami isn’t backing down in the race for the AFC’s last playoff spot. They got nice games out of Daniel Thomas (105YDS, 1TD) and Charles Clay (7REC, 97YDS, 2TD) to pul this game out.

16. Chicago Bears (7-6); beat Dallas 45-28, retains same ranking – The weather may have been freezing, but it wasn’t enough to cool off Chicago. Josh McCown threw a career-high four touchdowns and Matt Forte added 102 yards on the ground. It’s going to be hard for the Bears to sit McCown when Jay Cutler returns from injury.

17. San Diego Chargers (6-7); beat New York Giants 37-14, retains same ranking – Philip Rivers tossed three touchdowns to help San Diego keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Ryan Mathews has a chance to gain the most rushing yards of his career; he’s run for 885 yards and has three games left to rack up another 207 for his career high.

18. Green Bay Packers (6-6-1); beat Atlanta 22-21, retains same ranking – Matt Flynn played much better this game as he tallied 258 passing yards and a touchdown. Mason Crosby also played a part by nailing five field goals. With the Lions and Bears only a half game ahead of Green Bay, they still have a chance to make the postseason when Rodgers comes back.

geno-smith-jets19. New York Jets (6-7); beat Oakland 37-27, moves up two spots – Many people wondered if Geno Smith would even start after the miserable stretch that he’s been having. But start he did, and Smith played pretty well by throwing for a TD and running for another score.

20. New York Giants (5-8); lost to San Diego 37-14, drops one spot – It’s pretty hard to make the playoffs when you start out 0-6. Okay, so it’s nearly impossible and the Giants certainly aren’t going to the postseason now. But despite this loss, they did have a good middle stretch of the season.

21. Tennessee Titans (5-8); lost to Denver 51-28, drops one spot – Tennessee’s postseason hopes have basically disappeared with this loss. Now they face an uncertain future, with running back Chris Johnson likely gone after the year.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8); lost to Miami 34-28, retains same ranking – The Steelers lost their second close game in a row and have all but been eliminated from postseason contention. This aging defense could use some younger upgrades in the offseason.

23. St. Louis Rams (5-8); lost to Arizona 30-10, retains same ranking – After a mid-season surge, the St. Louis Rams have now lost two games in a row pretty badly. The magic that rookie running back Zac Stacy brought is temporarily gone as he rushed for just 25 yards on 14 carries.

maurice-jones-drew24. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9); beat Houston 27-20, moves up one spot – Jacksonville has actually been a pretty good football team over the last few weeks. A big reason for the improved play is Maurice Jones-Drew, who’s rushed for 264 yards and a TD over the past three games.

25. Minnesota Vikings (3-9-1); lost to Baltimore 29-26, drops one spot – One week after an overtime victory over the Bears, Minnesota loses in the last four seconds to Baltimore. The Vikings also lost Adrian Peterson after he was carted off the field with an injury.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9); beat Buffalo 27-6, moves up two spots – Tampa Bay relied on four interceptions and 127 rushing yards from Bobby Rainey to win their fourth game in five tries.

27. Cleveland Browns (4-9); lost to New England 27-26, drops one spot – Moments away from their season-defining victory, Cleveland watched as New England stormed down the field for a touchdown, then recovered an onside kick and scored again. At least they can take solace in Jason Campbell’s strong play because he threw for 391 yards and 3 TD’s.

28. Oakland Raiders (4-9); lost to New York Jets 37-27, drops one spot – The Raiders keep finding players to step in and fill holes on offense, but it hasn’t translated into wins over the last few weeks. Their fans have to wonder when this franchise will experience another winning season again.

29. Atlanta Falcons (3-10); lost to Green Bay 22-21, retains same ranking – Atlanta bolted out to an 11-point halftime lead, but failed to hold off the Packers in the fourth quarter. Matt Bryant also missed a 52-yard field goal with 6:42 left in the game.

30. Buffalo Bills (4-9); lost to Tampa Bay 27-6, retains same ranking – Buffalo’s season has went through the tubes, and they’ve now lost five of their last six contests. This one was particularly bad since rookie QB EJ Manuel tossed four picks.

31. Washington Redskins (3-10); lost to Kansas City 45-10, retains same ranking – The Redskins continued their dismal season by losing a fifth straight game. Now there’s speculation that Robert Griffin III will sit the remainder of the season while coach Mike Shanahan insists that it’s to prevent injury. Some believe that this may be Shanahan’s revenge for owner Daniel Snyder’s coddling of Griffin.

32. Houston Texans (2-11); lost to Jacksonville 27-20, retains same ranking – It’s hard to believe that Houston started the season 2-0. They’ve now lost a franchise-record 11 straight games and some major changes are in store for this team.

NFL Power Rankings for Dec. 27th, 2012

We’re now in the final week of the NFL regular season, which means these are our last power rankings before the playoffs begin. At this point, the Denver Broncos are in the driver’s seat after retaining their top spot from the previous week. However, there are a couple of teams waiting in the wings to take over first place if the Broncos lose. That said, let’s look at these teams along with the rest of the top 10.

1. Denver Broncos (12-3) – There’s little reason to drop the Broncos from our top spot since they dismantled Cleveland last week. Expect a similar result as the 2-13 Chiefs visit Denver this Sunday. About the only negative here is that the Broncos need a Houston loss to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Last Game: 34-12 win over Cleveland
Next Game: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

2. Atlanta Falcons (13-2) – The Falcons jump up two spots in the power rankings after locking down the NFC’s top spot, home field advantage, and the league’s best record. We were a bit worried about Atlanta a few weeks ago, but they seem to have regained form after outscoring opponents 65-18 in the past two games.

Last Game: 31-18 win over Detroit
Next Game: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3. New England Patriots (11-4) – We see the Falcons and Patriots as being pretty close in terms of rankings. However, New England falls to number three by the slimmest of margins after clawing past the 2-13 Jacksonville Jaguars. Plus it looks as if the Patriots will have to play on the road at least once during a potential Super Bowl run.

Last Game: 23-16 win over Jacksonville
Next Game: vs. Miami Dolphins

4. Seattle Seahawks (10-5) – We’re not sure how Seattle will fare in the playoffs because they’re currently only the NFC’s fifth seed. However, it’s hard not to like them following a route of the 49ers to win their fourth straight game. Marshawn Lynch had yet another good game after running for 111 yards and a touchdown while Russell Wilson tossed four touchdown passes. If Seattle wins against St. Louis and gets lucky with a Niners’ loss, they’d win the NFC West.

Last Game: 42-13 win over San Francisco
Next Game: vs. St. Louis Rams

5. Green Bay Packers (11-4) – For the Packers, it’s simple: win and they secure a first round playoff bye. Based on how they did in an obliteration of Tennessee, we like Green Bay’s chances of winning – even on the road against the Vikings. Ryan Grant put in a surprisingly good performance after rushing for 80 yards and a TD. Could he provide the running game the Packers need?

Last Game: 55-7 win over Tennessee
Next Game: at Minnesota Vikings

6. Houston Texans (12-3) – Houston still has a chance to grab the AFC’s top seed, but they haven’t exactly looked good over the past few weeks. Injuries have taken their toll on defense, and the Texans must now win a tough road game against the Colts to sure the number one seed.

Last Game: 23-6 loss to Minnesota
Next Game: at Indianapolis Colts

7. San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1) – The Niners fall the farthest in our power rankings after dropping from number three to seven. Their defense was sliced apart by the Seahawks, which creates concerns for the playoffs. At least relatively new QB Colin Kaepernick is still doing fine after throwing for 244 yards and running for another 31 yards.

8. Indianapolis Colts (10-5) – Against all preseason odds, the Colts have went from the league’s worst team to a playoff qualifier. However, there’s no reason to celebrate just yet because Indianapolis’ run defense has been thoroughly exposed this season. Jamal Charles ran for 226 yards against the Colts last week.

Last Game: 20-13 win over Kansas City
Next Game: vs. Houston Texans

9. Washington Redskins (9-6) – Robert Griffin III erased any doubts after missing a game (leg injury) as he threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles. If Washington can win against the Cowboys this week, they capture the NFC East and a playoff spot; assuming they lose, they’ll be at home watching Dallas play in the Wild Card round.

Last Game: 27-20 win over Philadelphia
Next Game: vs. Dallas Cowboys

10. Minnesota Vikings (9-6) – Minnesota has jumped into playoff contention by riding the legs of Adrian Peterson. AP is banged up going into the final game against the Packers, but he’ll still do whatever he can to get the Vikings into the postseason. Minnesota’s defense really stepped up last game to hold Houston to just six points.

Last Game: 23-6 win over Houston
Next Game: vs. Green Bay Packers