Robert Griffin III has been under fire since the summer, but something is very different in recent barbs sent his way.
One story has it that Mike Shanahan preferred Ryan Tannehill to RGIII in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Another is that Griffin asked the team not to show his mistakes on video in team meetings. Hog Heaven is skeptical of both stories.
We are not shy criticizing the savior of Redskins football, but that has been for his media outreach that strikes us as undermining the team.
We also call it as we see it when his game performance affects the chance to win. Griffin's performance is that of a young player on a learning curve. We say that, too.
Redskins players have been critical, too. Pierre Garcon was indirectly so while commenting on passing game quality. Santana Moss was disappointed in RG's explanation of the INT that killed Washington's comeback in the Philadelphia game.
Former players are blunt in recent rebukes of the golden child.
But the two recent rumors are personal attacks from nowhere. That's more than a shame. That's a crime. Calling Sherlock Holmes.
Crime scene investigation
Let's put on our law & order hats to persecute the innocent and execute the usual suspects to get at the bottom of this outrage. Who had the means, motive and opportunity to commit the dastardly deed?
The opportunity test is no help. Local sports reporters are all over the Redskins. Even secretaries and water boys have opportunity. No one can be excluded as a suspect.
The means test puts us on to something. Both the Tannehill rumor and the "don't-show-my-mistakes" story point to inside knowledge of front office thinking. The video story in particular paints RG as a bratty, coach-killing diva.
Who has the strongest motive to spread these rumors? Kirk Cousins and Mike Shanahan top the chart.
Motive points its finger
Cousins did not get a start in 2012 week 16 against Dallas, or against the Seahawks in the playoff game the following week when he should have appeared after half-time. Being the good citizen is not achieving his goal to start.
A devious man would undermine RG without throwing suspicion on himself. That's out of character for Cousins whom I have followed since 2008. I need more than motive before throwing a fellow Spartan under the bus.
Mike Shanahan has been contending with Griffin all year. Coach Shanny tried to sell us on John Beck as a quality quarterback. We applauded the (deserved) humiliation he heaped on Albert Haynesworth.
With his future in Washington on the line, a head-strong quarterback who needs to be checked and a player-owner link that might need to be broken, Shanahan gains most from these stories if only to strongly deny them while appearing to back a player under siege.
The Griffin rumors are character assassination worthy of a Caesar. So is casting suspicion on Shanahan based on nothing.
Forget everything I just wrote
This has been a neat analysis to troll for hits. Means, motive and opportunity are objective ways to flesh out a suspect list. It's not enough to convict without proof.
We are bloggers, not journalists. Bloggers can draw speculative conclusions. It's who we are.
Journalists have sources. We rely on them to verify even when they tweet "stuff" on social media. Fans should be skeptical of them when sources are not named. Garcon and Moss were tied to their statements when they were first published and they stood by to clarify them.
Who told what to whom about Shanahan's preference for Ryan Tannehill? Did that come before or after Shanny chased Peyton Manning? Would Shanahan offer RG to the Dolphins in trade for Tannehill? (Would fans and owner stand still for it?)
These stories may have come from unpaid interns or from the owner himself. Everybody has devoted too many pixels to them. Stop it. Just stop it.
Criticism where deserved
Hog Heaven sees these potshots at RGIII as a rebalancing of last year's phenomenon when Griffin became a larger than life character. That's never healthy for a young man's head.
If Griffin became the media monster, we are the Frankensteins who created him. There are two lessons he's surely learned by now:
No. 1 ‒ The crowd puts you on a pedestal when you win. The crowd will knock you off when you lose.
No. 2 ‒ Sometimes you do have to suck it up and listen to your elders, and I don't mean your father who never coached a pro team.
Suck it up and grow from it, kid.
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