Last night’s NFL Network pregame show included a lively discussion regarding the still-unfolding situation in Washington.
Former Cowboys teammates Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders argued about the treatment Robert Griffin III has received in Washington.
Deion, who once received a lot of money from the Redskins organization and who quit after Marty Schottenheimer was hired to be the head coach, believes that Griffin “needed a little humble pie,” and that his benching for the balance of the season will give it to him.
Irvin disagreed. Strongly.
“I’ve always spoke highly and thought highly of Mike Shanahan,” Irvin said. “Check the tapes, go back as far as you want. But I’m so disappointed with what I’m seeing. . . . This is personal, and I don’t care what you say. And there’s no way you sit your quarterback, RGIII, in his second season. We already know that Cam Newton went through a second season that wasn’t quite what it is, and look at what Cam is doing now. It is amazing to me.
“And here’s something nobody’s talking about. This is the third person that Mike Shanahan has had an issue with that was a star player for the Washington Redskins. I understand, coaches come in and they want to grab control. And they usually go after a star player to get control. Donovan [McNabb], Albert Haynesworth. Say what you will, say what you will. And now RGIII.
“RGIII’s handling it the best he can. Donovan said something like this was going to go down. So I’m not giving Mike Shanahan a pass when someone predicted what’s happening right now to this young man. You are tearing him down!”
I added the exclamation point for a reason. By the time he got to that sentence, Irvin was worked up and animated and yelling.
“I doubt that any man can come back from this, walking around three weeks around these guys that you have to lead,” Irvin said. “And I don’t want to hear about teammates either, [Deion]. I understand that. We understand as teammates and players, quarterbacks do get special treatment. You don’t see people arguing when Peyton Manning gets it or Tom Brady gets it. I don’t want you arguing when this kid gets it. He’s the quarterback, and the rest of us brothers have to understand that and treat him as such. I got an issue with all of it.”
Deion remained amazingly calm in the face of Irvin passionate remarks.
“Peyton Manning and Tom Brady won Super Bowls, that’s the difference,” Deion said.
“And you got to give this kid, he’s only in his second year, time to get there and win a Super Bowl,” Irvin said. “And he’ll never do it with this. You think they could do this to Andrew Luck? Let me ask you this question, you think they could to do this to Luck? Give me a yes or no. No. No.”
Sanders answered the question while Marshall Faulk was otherwise trying to speak.
“I don’t think any of Luck’s teammates would ever come out against him, either,” Sanders said.
Both men have a point. Griffin deserves blame, Shanahan deserves blame, and Daniel Snyder deserves blame.
Ultimately, the guy who finagled a five-year $35 million contract and full control despite winning only one playoff game after a pair of Elway-and-cap-violations fueled Super Bowls deserves the most blame because he had the power to not draft Griffin. Mike Shanahan also had the authority — and the duty — to ensure that, once Griffin was drafted via a trade for three first-round picks and a second-round pick, Snyder and the rest of the organization would ensure from the get-go that Griffin wouldn’t be permitted to take advantage of the celebrity and power that necessarily come from being the first franchise quarterback that the franchise has enjoyed in decades.
The Redskins now have a franchise quarterback without a franchise. Whether he’s ever the franchise quarterback again in Washington will depend on many things, starting with who the coach will be in 2014.