Small & Wee with RGIII



Are you happy to see RGIII named the starter, Geoff?

“Happy” is pushing it a bit. I would have preferred not to see Griffin join the team; I don’t think this experiment will end well. But since they did sign him, yes, he should be #1. He should be #1 until the day he is injured or released.

Have you been to camp? Have you seen how well he’s playing?

He isn’t “playing”– he is “practicing.” And “practicing” has never been the problem with RGIII. He always looks sensational when he’s facing his teammates in controlled situations. It’s when he is playing in games– against an opponent that isn’t holding back– where everything goes to hell.

He spent time at Tom House’s quarterback workshop

Please. For one thing, House isn’t a quarterbacks guru. He’s a former major league pitcher, who became a pitching coach for the Rangers. During his tenure (between 1985 and 1992), the Rangers went:

  • 1985: 62-99 (10th of 14 teams in runs allowed)
  • 1986: 87-75 (9th in runs allowed)
  • 1987: 75-87 (12th)
  • 1988: 70-91 (9th)
  • 1989: 83-79 (8th)
  • 1990: 83-79 (6th)
  • 1991: 85-77 (14th)
  • 1992: 77-85 (12th)

The one season Texas got into the top half of the AL in pitching wasn’t really because House improved the staff. The Rangers merely signed 42-year-old Nolan Ryan, to add to 43-year-old Charlie Hough, 30-year old Jamie Moyer and two prospects (Kenny Rogers and Kevin Brown).

Originally House was famous for having his pitchers throw footballs to improve their mechanics. When that didn’t help anyone, he began working with quarterbacks as a mechanics guru. His NFL clients have included (if you want to be generous): Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Alex Smith, Carson Palmer, Blake Bortles and (last summer) Andy Dalton .

You could maybe claim Smith and Palmer (who came to him when they were struggling and had a career resurgence at some point down the road. If Dalton continues to play well this year, he might be the marquee client. (Brees and Brady were doing fine before they got to him.

If you’d prefer not to be nice, House’s client list also includes, in addition to Griffin, Terrelle Pryor, Tim Tebow and Matt Cassel.

I should, I suppose, say that I worked on a book with House and another guy. I did work on four chapters, was neither paid nor credited and had some of my previously-published research deliberately misquoted when it disagreed with some of their more idiotic notions. House never spoke to me– everything came through the other guy– and I was fired for disagreeing with what I was reading.

I would feel chastened about this, except that baseball did not move to the four-man rotation (that was the topic I got fired about), that House never worked in major-league baseball again and the book can be found for a few pennies on Amazon.

But whatever I think of House, Griffin’s mechanics– except when he insists on playing hurt–  have never really been the problem. The problem is that he doesn’t read defenses well and panics when he sees defenses rush. Like Billy Relapse, if you aren’t willing to let him improvise as he sees fit, he’s going to struggle.

Did you see the ball he threw to Corey Griffin?

I don’t care– I already know he can do that.

Robert Griffin is the NFL’s answer to Melania Trump. They both look really good and people who watch them say “Damn, I’d love to have that.” The problem is that wives have to do all sorts of tasks when they have their clothes on, and quarterbacks need to do things other than throw deep passes.

Griffin has other issues. The unwritten rule is that quarterbacks always stick together, regardless of their differences in personal beliefs (the most extreme example being party animal Don Meredith and evangelical Craig Morton, whose relationship was portrayed in North Dallas 40). Griffin, according to accounts, was a jerk to both Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy. Since the Browns blew a #3 pick on Kessler’s “Smooth As Silk” Whiskey and they also have Austin Davis, this is not a good sign.

And you don’t think Hue Jackson can handle this?

Mike Shanahan couldn’t– and he’s 20 times the coach Jackson is. He had two Super Bowl titles when he was younger than Jackson is.

Admittedly, part of the problem in Washington was that “Baby Dan” Snyder wanted to be best buddies with his star– so (like Art Modell did with Jim Brown) he undercut the coach;s attempts to discipline the star.

That toxic component is gone. The only good thing Jimmy Haslam has been able to do is not try to be friends with his stars. (Although that might be related to the fact that he doesn’t have any.) Maybe that– plus Griffin’s belief that he only has a half-dozen chances in the NFL left (regardless of what his agent claims) will tone him down.

Griffin’s willingness to defend Puff Gordon doesn’t persuade me that he is past his issues. Another one of his problems in Washington was his willingness to opine on any topic, blaming everyone and everything (with one exception) for the losing. One time, after he was sacked six times, he called a press conference to point the finger at his line.

So you think they shouldn’t have signed him.

I didn’t say that. I understand the logic behind the signing. You’re a terrible team who has a chance to pick up an extraordinarily talented quarterback.It won’t cost you a draft pick or a player; the contract isreasonable. Why not take a flyer?

I just don’t expect the gamble to work out.

Update: My view is by no means the minority opinion. An ESPN pre-season ranking of starting QBs put Griffin above only Casey Keenum of the Rams.

When talk turns to subjects like these– topics that have been continuously discussed over extended periods of time– the Cleveland media is almost always at its most foolish and parochial. From the article:

“One personnel man questioned whether or not Griffin has the playmakers here to revive his career, but he hasn’t seen the likes of Corey Coleman, Terrelle Pryor, Gary Barnidge and Duke Johnson — not to mention Josh Gordon on the horizon.”

Who are, respectively, a rookie, a complete failure, a guy who had one good season, a second year player who couldn’t run the ball and a drug addict who most likely won’t finish the season with the team. Remember, Mary Kay Greenhouse thought that Jason Campbell was a Tier 1 quarterback.

A year ago, the Cleveland media was excited to have Josh McCown starting. The rest of the world was aghast. The consensus of the national media (AKA “Peter Queen and the Mean Girls”) is often totally wrong. But there are topics that are so obvious that they don’t need to be reconsidered.

This situation is sort of like the Ravens’ recent decision to sign Trent Richardson– high potential gain for no significant investment. The problem is that the odds of a payoff are very low (the Ravens have already ditched Richardson).


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