John Keim | ESPN.com
ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins say their locker room isn’t coming apart, even as their season continues to plummet and players are going on local radio stations questioning the quarterback’s postgame comments.
On Tuesday, receiver Santana Moss said on 106.7 The Fan’s “LaVar & Dukes Show” that Robert Griffin III needed to just accept the blame for a botched final play rather than try to explain what happened. On Wednesday, Moss attempted to clarify what he meant. He also said he spoke with Griffin earlier in the day and that the two are “cool.”
“That’s the kind of relationship we have,” Moss said. “We can talk and get to know or to express what was really said. That’s what we have in this locker room. We don’t have no divided locker room at all.”
And, players said, Griffin is definitely a leader on the team, a point many made both on and off the record. But Moss’ comments triggered a firestorm because he spoke at length about the situation.
Griffin tossed an interception that ended the Redskins’ 24-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday — a play in which he tried to throw the ball away to the back of the end zone while backpedaling near the 30-yard line.
Griffin took awhile in his postgame news conference before he finally said, “It’s something I shouldn’t do.”
That led to Moss answering the question and saying the quarterback sometimes must just say it’s his fault.
Griffin on Wednesday said that everyone is “on the same page.” He also took unequivocal blame for the interception.
And Moss said he was trying to send a message to every player and not just Griffin.
“What I was saying [was], if you’re ever put in a situation — anybody — this is how we can control it so there is no confusion,” Moss said. “Because if you nip it in the bud, then you don’t have to worry about that story being turned somewhere else. You’re a stand-up guy. That’s how it’s going to be portrayed, whether you know you did something wrong or not. ‘I like that dude for what he said because he took it on the chin.’ That’s all you have to do.
“If I’m a quarterback or I’m a leader and I drop a ball, then it’s me. No matter how it came or what the other guy did, it’s me. At the time [Tuesday] I was picturing myself being the quarterback and what I could tell you … is that, at the end of the day, I’m the last guy that has to make the play to win it or we won’t. If we won, I’ll say we did a great job. If we didn’t, I’m gonna say I have to do a better job.”
The comments led to questions about Griffin’s leadership as well as about whether they were signs of a divided locker room.
Fullback Darrel Young said Moss’ comments were taken out of context and agreed with Moss that the veteran receiver was challenging everyone and not just Griffin.
“Robert Griffin’s a leader of this team, and I don’t care what anyone says,” Young said. “I’m going to war with him any day and I know [everyone] in this locker room is going to war with him. … He holds himself accountable to us. To you guys, it doesn’t matter what he thinks. It’s the 53 individuals in this locker room that really ride his back. He’s been the man since he’s been here. We knew that.
“It’s the only thing to talk about because we’re 3-7, but there’s no controversy. This will be behind us once we get a win.”
Griffin also said on Sunday that the Eagles’ defense stymied the Redskins because it could match them “tit for tat,” and that the Redskins needed to counteract better.
Still only 23, Griffin perhaps has yet to fully appreciate how much his words are parsed and dissected. It’s why players sometimes feel it’s better to say “I” or “me” when discussing bad plays or games.
“We all need to do that, whether it’s on you or not,” linebacker London Fletcher said. “It makes everyone else feel better.”
But Fletcher said the situation should not be viewed as signs of a locker room starting to spiral downward.
“I’ve been on teams where the minute something goes wrong, guys start finger-pointing and the offense is blaming the defense and the defense is blaming the offense,” Fletcher said. “We don’t have that type of team. We have a bunch of guys that really look at themselves and say, ‘I should have did this better.’ We have coaches that stand up and say, ‘That was on me.’ We have a lot of people that are accountable.”
After Sunday’s loss, Fletcher raved about Griffin’s leadership, which was questioned by former longtime Redskins cornerback and Hall of Famer Darrell Green last week, and he echoed his sentiments Wednesday.
“Robert is an excellent leader,” Fletcher said. “Here’s a young guy who was voted captain as a rookie; that doesn’t happen often. It’s voted by his peers, his teammates. That means something. We know the great leadership qualities he has.
“I’ve never seen a young player come in, maybe [Brian Orakpo], who has the maturity and leadership. Robert is doing things the right way. As you grow in this business, you gain more experience and you learn as you go.”
- Covered the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and other media outlets since 1994
- Authored or co-authored three books on the Redskins and one on the Cleveland Browns