For every minute of the first two years of his career, quarterback Robert Griffin III had linebacker London Fletcher as a teammate. And Fletcher made some observations about Griffin during Fletcher’s one-hour visit to NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk on Tuesday.
Fletcher pointed out that, to truly lead teammates, Griffin has to be willing to possibly anger them.
“I think the biggest concern will be him embracing that leadership role in terms of having to be the total team leader and sometimes having to be the a bad guy,” Fletcher said. “You know, it’s a different dynamic when you have to be the leader sometimes you have to say something to maybe upset or ruffle a few feathers and that’s one of the things he’s going to have to balance.”
That balance could become even more challenging in 2014, with receiver DeSean Jackson hoping to prove the Eagles wrong not by clearing out the underneath zones for teammates who will advance the ball but by catching passes and gaining yards. If Jackson doesn’t get enough touches, he could grumble (see Mike Wallace). And it initially will be Griffin’s job to keep Jackson from doing that.
Fletcher thinks Griffin can do it, in part because Fletcher believes Griffin isn’t a diva.
“He’s a hard worker, he’s extremely talented, he wants to be the best,” Fletcher said. “I saw that guy rehab three times a day last year [when] we were both going through a rehab situation. . . . He spent so much time in there, he wasn’t out doing all the commercials and all the things you saw. . . . Perception in this case is not reality.”
That’s good news for Griffin’s team, because it will be on Griffin to become a true leader in order to bring together an offense that has plenty of weapons but, barring a dramatic change in the rules at next month’s ownership meetings, only one football. Griffin, as Fletcher explained it, needs to be willing to say things in the locker room that need to be said, even if those things aren’t popular with the people who are hearing them.