Necessary Roughness

Necessary Roughness, Week 9: What the Hell Happened to the Chargers, and are the Redskins Setting Up RG3 to Fail?


Necessary Roughness / BTBAM's Paul WaggonerWeek 9 is almost in the books, and after Sunday’s games I’m left asking myself a couple of questions:

1) What the hell happened to the San Diego Chargers?
2) Are the Redskins setting RG3 up to fail?

Neither question is particularly easy to answer.

The Chargers are now on a three-game skid after starting the season looking like one of the best teams in the league. Philip Rivers has become a turnover machine, and their defense has been pretty porous in both the running and passing game. I don’t think anyone would have been shocked to see San Diego go down to Miami and lose, but for them to be torched 37-0 was absolutely mindboggling. Luckily they have a bye week to regroup before facing the winless Raiders so it’s quite likely that things will swing back in the Chargers’ favor once Week 11 rolls around.

The second question is one for much debate. There is no denying that RG3 is a gifted athlete with substantial football talent. There’s also no denying that the guy has been as injury-prone as any player I’ve seen in their first three years in the league. On top of all that, his team seems to be in a constant state of dysfunction. Ever since Dan Snyder took over ownership, the Redskins have never really been able to get on track with any degree of consistency. Last year RG3 and Mike Shanahan were at odds which ultimately led to the coach’s demise. Now we insert a first year head coach in Jay Gruden, and while it seems he and Griffin get along okay, we are now hearing reports that the quarterback has lost support from his teammates. I’m not sure if it’s RG3’s personality that rubs people the wrong way, or if it’s just his inconsistent performance and fragile health.

Either way, there seems to be drama in the Skins’ locker room. On the heels of a big win down in Jerryworld against divisional foes the Dallas Cowboys, you would think Washington would have been riding high coming into the Week 9 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. After all, 3rd-stringer Colt McCoy delivered a fairly heroic performance in Dallas, and the defense got to Tony Romo and put a hit on him that ultimately led to his inactivity in the Cowboys’ Week 9 matchup with Arizona.

So why was there so much negativity surrounding the Redskins this week? I think the Redskins players and probably a fairly large segment of their fanbase wanted to see Colt McCoy get the start yesterday. Wins are hard to come by for this team, and Colt led them to one of those rare wins against the Cowboys. The philosophy of “staying with the hot hand” is certainly one of much validity. So in that sense, I understand the perspective of wanting to see if McCoy can maintain his productivity and give Washington their first two game winning streak of the season. The flipside to all of this is that RG3 is clearly the franchise QB. He’s paid to be the starter. They have a lot invested in this guy and he’s in all those shitty Subway commercials. If he’s healthy you gotta start him, right? Normally, I would say yes. Absolutely. I mean, if Drew Brees is out for seven weeks and Luke McCown has won seven in a row in his absence, I’m still starting Brees if he’s healthy. He’s Drew Brees. But here’s the thing, Robert Griffin isn’t Drew Brees. Hell, he isn’t even Ryan Tannehill. He’s a guy who has struggled mightily since his standout rookie year, and he’s under a microscope of scrutiny. If you subtract all the fanfare and his public persona from the equation you are left with a fairly unproven, young quarterback on a really bad football team. If I was Jay Gruden I would NOT have started Griffin this week. Not because I think McCoy is a better player, but because with all the factors at play, a subpar performance by RG3 against a bad Vikings team would just further sink his ship in the choppy waters of public opinion. In essence, I would have waited until McCoy falters and proves why he was the third string QB before I gave Griffin the nod. In my opinion, the Redskins may be setting RG3 up for failure. In the end Griffin didn’t play horrible by any means but the Redskins still lost. They have a bye next week to let all this hoopla die down before they face the Bucs in Week 11. If they don’t win that game, all hell is gonna break loose.

We are in the throes of some intense writing sessions in BTBAM camp, so I really don’t have a ton of time to run down the games of the week. Real quickly I’ll just say this:

The Panthers are atrocious and I’m sad about it.
The Cowboys are in trouble without a healthy Tony Romo.
The Cardinals are really good. It’s no longer a fluke.
It was nice to see Mark Sanchez play well. I’m happy for him.
The Niners are a damn anomaly. Are they good, bad, or just wildly inconsistent? The Patriots are on fire right now.
The Steelers are on fire right now.
Will the Raiders go 0-16? Most likely, yes.
The Colts will beat the Giants tonight by a score of 31-21.
The fall weather in Charlotte NC is beautiful today.
Cilantro can go right to hell.

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