There were some angry Redskins fans on Monday and it had nothing to do with losing in the final 90 seconds to the New York Giants. No, some fans instead were outraged that Joe Gibbs, the coach responsible for four NFC Championships and three Super Bowls had the nerve to give a pregame speech to the Dallas Cowboys before their game against the Carolina Panthers. Of course, that is not exactly what happened. Coach Gibbs, being a man of very strong faith, actually was asked to speak at the team's Saturday night chapel. Gibbs was good enough to set the record straight on my favorite radio show. As it happens, Gibbs, who loves sharing his faith, was doing just that ... with a group that could clearly use some saving. In this week's Chain Reactions we do actually talk some football as the Legend of RGIII grows amid even a Giant loss, and a perceived weakness turns into a strength.
RGIII's Legend Grows on Broadway (well NJ)
"Greatness is not Given...Greatness is taken...." Robert Griffin III in his Gatorade commercial.
RGIII continues to take that greatness to another level each week. The Redskins lost Sunday, but what has not been lost on NFL fans, media, and players around the league is that RGIII is the f@#%&$g truth. There was the unbelievable 4th and 10 completion to Logan Paulsen after almost being sacked by Jason Pierre-Paul. Now we understand why he did not want RGIII running his way, because he would end up on a poster (do people still have posters?). Then there was the perfect pass to Santana Moss that should have been the game-winning touchdown, and Griffin's best pass of the day was the laser to Josh Morgan on the first drive that was called back on to a ticky-tack illegal shift penalty. Is RGIII perfect? No, he turned the ball over twice and the 'Skins offense turned it over four times. Yet, the 'Skins still had a chance to knock out the defending champs on their home field.
Keep in mind, all this happened with Pierre Garcon on the sideline, where he pretty much has been all season, and Fred Davis leaving after the first drive with a season-ending achilles injury. None of these setbacks seems to faze RGIII. He just finds the next man up. The Redskins do not have a true No. 1 receiver without Garcon, but you could certainly make the case that Moss is moving towards being that guy once again. This week, the 'Skins also brought back fan favorite Chris Cooley. What he can contribute remains to be seen. Cooley is not a guy that is going to stretch the field at his age. However, the veteran is sure-handed and his experience should help younger players, especially Niles Paul. Perhaps Cooley, like Moss, will be able to turn back the clock. Cooley, like Moss, has not been blessed with much stability or talent at the quarterback position during his Redskins tenure. Quarterback is no longer a concern thanks to the 'Skins sensational rookie. Too bad he can't play in the secondary.
Offensive Line No Longer Offensive The preseason prognosticators were not kind to the Redskins offensive line when forecasting the 2012 season. That perceived weakness has turned into a strength in these first 7 weeks. This is a group that is more than the sum of their parts in the 'Skins zone blocking scheme. Outside of Trent Williams, who is playing at a Pro Bowl level, the group is rather anonymous. Tyler Polumbus, Kory Lichtensteiger, Will Montgomery, and Chris Chester have all helped clear the way for the NFL's top rushing offense at 177 yards a game. They have also done an adequate job keeping their star rookie quarterback clean, surrendering 16 sacks through the first seven weeks.
"There are a number of people that were worried about our offensive line," said Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan. "I was hoping that we would stay fairly healthy and I was hoping some of our young guys that we have — if we didn’t stay healthy — could mature very quickly. We have stayed fairly healthy, which is always a big advantage."
The coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for not just coaching these guys up, but for coming up with a scheme that allows them to play to their strengths, firing off at defenses. Alfred Morris running through tackles and RGIII running by people are certainly helping these guys look good, too. However, it is a two way street, as they have opened up some monster holes, too. Much like other areas on the team it is a unit that can not afford to lose anyone because their overall depth is still shaky. To this point, though, they have certainly held up much better than even the most optimistic Redskin fan could have expected.