Sports fans follow teams, but they relate to players. I know this because hits to Hog Heaven are unfailingly higher when a player leads a headline than when the topic is about the team.
We saw our biggest hits this month from stories about Robert Griffin III and London Fletcher than when we wrote about the schedule or defense. Big media knows that lesson, so it's no surprise that Sports Illustrated's cover story for its upcoming issue works both RG3 and Andrew Luck in the headline. The feature story is "NFL Draft Preview: The 1-2 Punch of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III."
Two for the price of one; Lesson learned.
As SI describes it, Peter King and Bill Polian discuss the merits of both prospects and pronounce which of them should be drafted first. Since it is Polian being asked and Polian drafted Manning, no one should be surprised that he favors the candidate (Luck) that projects as a Manning clone.
The print version of this issue should drop just before next week's 2012 NFL Draft.
Griffin III has yet to wear the burgundy or elude Demarcus Ware, yet Washington Redskins fans have already pronounced his career a success. Griffin alone shall make the Redskins a success in 2012.
I'm equally nearly as guilty. I've looked in my mirror and asked myself why I would be oddly disappointed if the Colts stole RG3 away from us selected Griffin III instead of Luck?
Dan Graziano, ESPN's NFC East blogger, must have had a chat of something going on today. Two of his tweets expressed a certain frustration.
For the one millionth time: If Colts take Luck, Redskins take Griffin. If Colts take Griffin, Redskins take Luck. Couldn't be simpler.— Dan Graziano (@espn_nfceast) April 18, 2012
The Redskins paid so much to move up in the Draft to be able to select either player. The Shanahans would be happy to have either. Redskins fans are far better off than Dolphins or Browns fans, all because of the trade with the Rams.
Both Griffin and Luck are enormously talented with sky high potential. Both have to develop as pro players, which is the next question mark about the Redskins. Is anyone satisfied with quarterback decisions by Big Mike and Kyle? Even disregarding Donovan McNabb's prediction of catastrophe, Shanahan's handling of Jason Campbell, Rex Grossman, John Beck and (yes) McNabb are cause for concern. The idea that Grossman wants to help develop the rookie fills me with dread.
Hog Heaven believes that the Shanahans will be more successful with Griffin or Luck than with any quarterback they've coached in Washington, but that success must be seen, not assumed.
Call it a hunch, but Washington would probably win one more game in 2012 with Luck than they would with Griffin. Whoever will have the best won-loss record by the end of their rookie contract remains to be seen. It depends on more than personal performance. The supporting cast and stability in coaching have much to do with it. Write this down 100 times -- Quarterbacks attempt passes. Receivers complete them.
'Skins fans are emotionally all in on RG3. So yes, we would be oddly disappointed to be stuck with Luck. King and Polian, by the way, expect the Colts to select Luck and the Redskins to select RG3.
Is Jabar Gaffney on the trade block?
Chris Russell tweeted a story that Redskins receiver Gaffney has been told that the team is trying to trade him. (h/t to my friends at Hogs Haven for pointing me there.) That story can go in a number of directions.
The front office may be trying to recover picks to make up for what was given away. Maybe they see Gaffney as surplus with the addition of Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan to the roster. Or, maybe it was Gaffney's vitriolic Twitter stream of last week.
Gaffney tweeted more than he should have about his wife and anther NFL player who happens to be his cousin. There's a lot more to this story that I don't think is any of my business. The Redskins may not want to be associated with it; Thus, phone calls are perhaps being made.
Here's a twist for ya. What if the Redskins want to bring DB Lito Sheppard on board? Gaffney and Sheppard in the same locker room would be drama worthy of HBO's Hard Knocks.