Last Sunday’s Washington Redskins-St. Louis Rams game could certainly be described as “chippy.” There were three personal foul penalties and two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls, including one on Redskins wide receiver Josh Morgan that not only removed any possibility of his team tying the game but resulted in death threats via Twitter.
Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin, who was on the receiving end of one of those personal foul penalties, felt the Rams were “unprofessional” in how they played on Sunday, the Associated Press reports.
“I remember one play,” Griffin said. “After the play, the guy said: ‘We’re going to hit you every play.’ I said: ‘Isn’t this football?’ It’s nothing that I’m not used to. It was extremely weird the way they went about it, though.”
Griffin took it a step further, evoking the “b” word that is taboo in the National Football League and is why the same Rams team he is lecturing about professionalism are operating without a defensive coordinator. Gregg Williams, hired by Rams head coach Jeff Fisher in January, is suspended indefinitely for his role in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal. Williams’ son Blake is coaching the Rams’ linebackers and is involved in the Rams’ defensive play-calling.
“I don’t want to tip-toe the lines of anything that’s happened with bounties or anything like that, but they were definitely going after me,” Griffin said. “They made it a point, obviously, all week to hit me. Some of the shots were cheap of that nature. But it’s nothing I can control. Teams are going to try to hit me because they don’t think I can take a hit. I think I’ve proved over my career that I can.”
As talented and as front-and-center as Griffin has been throughout the draft process, the offseason, training camp and now regular season , it’s easy to forget that last year at this time he was coming off a big win against Stephen F. Austin and preparing to face Rice. Griffin is just 120 minutes into his professional career, so it’s understandable for him to think that teams are hitting him to see if he can take it.
However, what Griffin should realize is that those players on the defensive side of the football are not paid extras in a Subway commercial. They get paid a lot of money — some even more than Griffin does thanks to the new rookie wage scale — to hit him because he’s the one with the football in his hand every play and that’s their job. Bemoaning it on a weekly basis, or questioning another team’s professionalism when it attempts to intimidate you through the press will only make matters worse.