Shanahan: "When backs are against the wall, you find out who fights"
Redskins Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green stirred up some controversy this week when he questioned the leadership status of Redskins second-year quarterback and offensive captain Robert Griffin III.
When he appeared on Showtime's "Inside the NFL" and was asked who he thought the leaders on the team were, Green was blunt. “I think that’s the problem,” Green answered. “I think it’s super important to have leadership, and I don’t think he [Griffin] really is the leader.”
That created some blowback from some of the team’s current players. "We voted that guy captain because we believe in him. That guy is a (expletive) leader in a big way," one offensive player told Chris Russell of ESPN 980 in response to Green's statement.
[Related: Darrell Green questions leadership of RG3]
Former local sportscaster and current NFL Network host Dan Hellie called Green to see if he wanted to clarify his remarks. Although Green did not back off of his comments, he did admit that he didn’t know much about it.
“This guy knows a lot about football. He knows a lot about being in a locker room,” said Hellie on NFL Total Access on Friday. “This particular situation, as he told me on the phone, ‘I really don’t know a lot about it. I’ll be honest with you’. He said, ‘Dan, I know diddly-squat about this. I’m giving my opinion based on the fact that I spent 20 years in the NFL locker room and I think that it’s hard for a young guy to be a leader.’ And that’s what he was trying to say.”
(Hellie seemed to be paraphrasing what Green said so one should not take these as direct quotes from Green.)
For most of Green’s career, which ran from 1983 through 2002, it was unusual for a young quarterback to spend two or three years on the bench before ever taking the field so. It seems that Green might have some difficulty in grasping the concept that the 23-year-old Griffin can lead an NFL team.
As noted above, Griffin’s teammates have a very different point of view.
[Related:RG3 says offense is “clicking”]
Former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest was on the NFL Network set with Hellie. He thinks that Green’s comments may have been more about results on the field than leadership. The Redskins are 3-6 and while Griffin has been playing well lately his performance is off from his 2012 Rookie of the Year level.
“When you’re not playing well, of course, everybody’s going to attack certain things about you,” said McGinest.
Exactly. The only way the Griffin and the Redskins are going to be able to quiet such criticism is to put together a winning streak.