Last week, the Washington Redskins benched quarterback Robert Griffin III. We've heard all sorts of explanations: that Griffin had taken too many hits; that the franchise needed to see what it had in backup Kirk Cousins; that head coach Mike Shanahan was trying to send the message that he's the coach and Griffin merely the player; even that Shanahan was pulling a George Costanza and trying to get fired. There's a kernel of truth in all of those explanations — well, probably not the Constanza theory — but after going back and studying the film from every game of Griffin's last three seasons, I'm certain that Griffin's play was the main reason he didn't suit up Sunday and won't play Washington's final two games.
Despite the torrent of leaks, media reports, and bizarre press conferences, we know very little about how Washington actually came to this decision or about the team's overall future direction. But we know one thing: Griffin will still be Washington's starting quarterback in Week 1 next season. Despite the fact that Griffin hasn't played well, despite the injuries, and despite the dalliance with Cousins, Washington simply has too much invested in Griffin to move on just yet. For now, Griffin's future is still the Redskins' future. But if the quarterback wants to keep his job long term, he must play better. And I think he will.
Week 14: -51,000 jermajesties
Season Total: -51,0000 jermajesties
Yep, another five-digit jermajesty forfeiture for me. Let’s face it, when it comes to NFL prop wagering I’m a total fraud. I’m really no better than the guy pretending to do sign language at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. And I guarantee that scam artist didn’t already drop a mid-December Costco run playing the Broncos on a three-team teaser. If he did he’d have a hell of a time explaining it.
Anyway, my losing ways are behind me. It’s time to start anew. Blah. Blah. Blah.
Congratulations! If you're reading this, you've very likely advanced to your fantasy league's semifinals. I’m sure this is a grueling, stressful time for you, but don’t forget to cherish the moment. While most of your fellow owners are already knee-deep in the offseason, you're guaranteed at least one more week of roster tinkering, trash-tweeting, and cursing out the grown men running across your TV screen. To enjoy such luxuries beyond this weekend, though, you’ll have to avoid the myriad pitfalls lurking in the shadows of Week 15. That’s no small task, but it’s one that can be made a gazillion times easier by reading the next 1,500 words. Good luck!
1. QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: Did Luck end his slump in Week 14, portending a return to form during the season's final stretch? Or were the 32 fantasy points he posted against the Bengals simply the result of two quarters of garbage time? We could tie ourselves in knots trying to figure this out, but right now, it doesn't matter: Luck has a delectable matchup with Texans interim head coach/noted slump-buster Wade Phillips looming this week, and Phillips might as well be a drug quarterbacks take to boost their fantasy value.
No franchise in the NFL is fueled by turmoil more consistently than Washington. Even for the fans who have suffered through the agonizing valleys of the Daniel Snyder era, this has been a particularly brutal season. The expectations produced by a stunning playoff run and a brilliant rookie season by Robert Griffin in 2012 have given way to a 3-10 campaign and a season-long debate over Griffin's health. That discussion — and I'm being generous there — has now somehow merged with the possibility that Mike Shanahan will be fired before the 2014 season.
As the year has gone along, the calls to remove Griffin from the starting lineup have grown louder. Some of that revolves around the idea that Griffin is unhealthy and unable to perform at his previous level, an argument that isn't supported by his cumulative performance this year. Almost all year, though, there has been a small but significant portion of the fan base and the circus surrounding the team that genuinely believes that Kirk Cousins deserves a chance to be the starter in Washington based upon his play in relief of Griffin. (Super Bowl–winning ex-coaches, too.) This has been coming, strangely, for a while.
Mike Shanahan is about to be out of a job, so prepare now, Alfred Morris owners, for one final dose of Shanahanigans before the season ends.
The coach clearly wants to go out with a bang, and his scorched-earth policy regarding the world’s fantasy teams will grow only stronger as we near Week 17. You are in immediate danger; give your loved ones a hug and, more importantly, start stockpiling all Redskins running backs, past and present (and maybe even future), in case Shanahan empties his bag of tricks. As an above-average fantasy owner once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
THIS JUST IN: Mike Shanahan today says he won't commit to RGIII as his starting QB for Sunday. Says he'll make his decision in next 48 hrs.
What's that? You were wondering exactly how many days until the start of the NFL season? Well, you're in luck! We here at the Triangle are set to spend the next month providing a daily reason to get excited about pro football's return.
Brandon Weeden, starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, went 10-for-13 last night against the Rams. (Brian Hoyer was 10-for-14, but that is not the point.) Concerns about Weeden in Cleveland go back to the day he was drafted, when the Browns spent a first-round pick on a quarterback 5.5 years older than Andrew Luck. Those concerns persisted when Weeden finished 29th in DVOA among quarterbacks.
On any given Sunday (or Monday, or Thursday), your NFL Run & Shootaround crew will be gathered around multiple televisions, making inappropriate jokes and generally regressing to the mean. Catch up on all the NFL action right here.
I am exhausted. Not just because I spent 40 minutes of "real time" standing-squatting-jumping-kneeling-windmilling in my living room as the last four "game minutes" plus OT played out between the paid football players representing the Chocolate and Charm cities yesterday. (BTW, no one should be surprised that D.C. prevailed — food > manners.) But also because meaningful December football is no longer part of my constitution. Like baggy jeans and land-line telephones and paying for music, the once-vital D.C. pro football team has become less critical to my daily existence for all of the obvious and exhaustively well-documented decades' worth of reasons. Of course the 2007 run after the still-unfair and still-distressing Sean Taylor tragedy was inspired. But Todd Collins was prominently involved, which means ... that Todd Collins was prominently involved. This QB and this team and this run are different. Like, once-in-a-generation different, which definitely feels like hyperbole but isn't, IMHO.
Ted, a Grantland reader and great American from Denver, writes: "Watch that RG3 run again, and check out the Skins' sideline. Was Kirk Cousins the least excited person on earth on this play?
Watch the video, he never moved from that stance the entire play, even as RG3 is running right past him (as you can see in the photo). I’m not even 100% not sure that’s not a cardboard cutout. If you’re the backup QB and the starting QB just broke a 76-yard game-saving TD, you don’t have to be the most excited guy in the stadium, but you can’t be the LEAST excited guy in the stadium either can you? It’s gonna make film day kinda awkward I think."