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RG III Needs To Look In The Mirror

November 20, 2014

The aura that once surrounded Robert Griffin III has basically evaporated. RG III has been coddled by the press since his arrival into the NFL. His propensity to put himself amongst the NFL elite quarterbacks has drawn the ire of many. Griffin just is not a good NFL quarterback. And now he has apparently drawn the ire of his current coach at Washington, Jay Gruden.

Gruden did not hold back when responding to Griffin’s postgame comments on Sunday after the Redskins lost by 20 points, at home to the 1-8 Tampa Bay Bucs. RG III was quoted as saying that a quarterback only plays well if his teammates do their job. In other words, he threw his team under the bus without taking responsibility for his poor play.

Robert Griffin III

“First of all, Robert needs to understand he needs to worry about himself No. 1 and not everybody else,” Gruden said. “... It’s my job to worry about everybody else.” Gruden went on to critique his quarterback’s performance.

“Robert had some fundamental flaws,” Gruden said, per NFL.com. “His footwork was below average. He took three-step drops when he should have taken five. He took a one-step drop when he should have taken three on a couple occasions and that can’t happen. He stepped up when he didn’t have to step up, and he stepped into pressure. He read the wrong side of the field a couple times. “So, from his basic performance just critiquing Robert, it’s not even close to good enough to what we expect from the quarterback position.”

How bad were RG III and the Skins you ask? This team, after a bye week, with extra time to prepare, lost to the lowly Buccaneers. They allowed journeyman quarterback Josh McCown to post an almost perfect 137.5 passer rating. The offense, led by Griffin, fumbled four times and threw two interceptions. The defense gave up a 209-yard receiving day to a rookie.

And you thought it was rough being a Carolina Panthers fan these days.

What About Those Panthers?

It was all there for the taking. A chance, undeserved perhaps, to move into first place. A close scoring affair between two rivals ended with the Carolina Panthers on the wrong end of a 19-17 score. The setback dropped the Panthers to third place in the NFC South.

Not only did Carolina lose a close game in which its defense finally played a strong game, it failed to capitalize on a New Orleans loss for the second week in a row. As a result, the Falcons moved into a first-place tie with the Saints.

Cam Newton and his offense struggled early in the game, tallying only three points after one half of football. After snapping out of a slumber that lasted for more than three quarters, the Panthers’ offense finally started rolling in the fourth.

Newton, who completed just 17 of his first 30 passes for 156 yards and two interceptions against the worst pass defense in the NFL, suddenly turned a switch. He hit on five of his next six throws, accumulating 136 yards and two touchdowns. Then, all of a sudden, head coach Ron Rivera chose to stop throwing the ball. Newton’s final completion, a 17 yard connection to Kelvin Benjamin, with less then two minutes to play left Carolina in pretty good shape to take a late lead.

Trailing 19-17, the Panthers were set up at the Falcons’ 32-yard-line after the Newton-to-Benjamin completion. Here is a quick synopsis of the next three plays. The next three plays looked like this:

DeAngelo Williams

DeAngelo Williams up the middle for one yard. Newton runs outside for four yards. Jonathan Stewart lost a yard running up the middle. Atlanta called a time out after each running play, guaranteeing it would get the ball back in the event Carolina did not pick up another first down. Instead of going for the knockout while the Falcons were on their heels, the Panthers chose not to kick them over. Three plays, no passes, four yards gained.

Rivera chose to bank on kicker Graham Gano kicking a 46-yard field goal on a cold and windy afternoon. I don’t know about you. But I would rather bank on Newton winning the game for me or even setting up a shorter field goal then banking on Gano.

Here is what Rivera had to say after the game.

“If we tried for another first down and threw an incompletion the clock stops. There are a lot of things that go into it. I made the decision that I felt was best at that point in the game,” Rivera explained. In other words, he did not trust Newton. The franchise quarterback. The first pick in an NFL draft.

Rivera continued on with his rationale. “We forced them to use time outs. We ran what we felt were good runs. If we get the first down, great, we are closer. If not, they use all three time outs. We make the field goal. We kickoff, and now they don’t have any time outs.”

But even with the three-rushes strategy, the Falcons still would have had about 80 seconds to try to go back down the field for a game-winning field goal. Of course, it never got to that point because Gano hooked his 46-yard attempt wide left.

Last year, they called him “Riverboat Ron.” I have not heard that term this year.

Hornets Offense Also Struggling

I just spoke of how the Carolina Panthers’ offense is struggling and how their coach appears to not trust his quarterback. The professional basketball team in the state also has a struggling offense.

Coming into the NBA season, the Charlotte Hornets were among the teams that were considered to have a shot at a deep playoff run. We are two weeks into the NBA season and the Hornets have not lived up to those expectations at all. Their offense struggles to score and their defense comes and goes.

As I write this, the Hornets are 22nd in the league in team scoring per game. Their leading scorer is Al Jefferson at 21.4 points per game, but the next highest is Kemba Walker at 15.1. After that, the only Hornet in double-digit figures is Gary Neal at 12.2 per game. If the Hornets want to win some games this year, they are going to need someone to start putting the ball in the basket more, or make a trade for someone that can.

Their coveted free agent who they signed in the offseason, Lance Stephenson has struggled mightily with shooting, and is only averaging nine points a game. He averaged 14 last year while seeing substantially less playing time then he does now.

It was thought that Brian Roberts was another solid pickup in the offseason, but yet again has been unable to produce numbers that Charlotte needs. As the backup point guard, he has season averages of 5.5 points and 2.8 assists per game. Those are not good numbers for the amount of playing time he is seeing.

Something needs to be done soon if the Hornets want to stay relevant in the playoff race. Currently, they’re ninth in the East, and things are not looking good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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