Welcome Guest | Register | Login

NFL Unfiltered Week 9: Philadelphia Eagles, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and more!


This week’s unfiltered is not about discrimination. Instead, my intent is to bring attention to what I believe is an obvious difference between what Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck is coached to do and what Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan asks of Robert Griffin III.  Not because one is Caucasian and the other is African-American, but because both are very skilled passers. 


Luck—a supreme athlete in his own right—is being asked to execute plays where his legs are used to get completions, while Griffin III is asked to run power sweeps. Why?

Is it because Shanahan is desperate to win after failing with Jason Campbell, John Beck, Rex Grossman and Donovan McNabb?  Is it because his son (offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan) isn’t ready for the job he has?  Maybe the problem lies with Griffin III in that tRobert Griffin III photo: nfl.si.comhey tried a more conventional approach but he showed far more interest (and ability) in playing the way he did at Baylor.    

Rather than request Shanahan teach him to play quarterback, Griffin III seems to relish his role as some kind of football mutation. That is fine in a video game and it’s certainly good enough to dominate the collegiate landscape. But this is the NFL and as Michael Vick has proven over an uneven career, running around like a super hero isn’t good enough.    

As a young man, Griffin III probably thinks he’s invincible.  But he doesn’t have x-ray vision, superhuman strength or warp speed.  He’s just a talent in dire need of schooling.  Hell, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and Tiger Woods all received proper training and RG3 is nowhere near as talented as they were at a similar age.  So why isn’t last year’s Heisman Trophy winner being taught properly?

In my view, only seven players in the last thirty years could legitimately win games running as well as passing: Steve Young, Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb, Dante Culpepper, Michael Vick, Cam Newton and now Griffin III.  Of those seven only Young really learned to play quarterback. Coincidentally, only Young won the Super Bowl.  


To their credit, Cunningham, McNabb and Culpepper each made strides throughout their careers and ultimately won dozens of games using their minds and arms, but all three developed bad habits.  Perhaps scarred by so many years of designed running plays and one-read escapes, none reached their potential.  Even if you believe they each got the most out of their careers, you cannot deny the fact they wasted valuable time as young players running around.  And it’s clear to anyone paying attention Vick has never really grasped the subtleties of the position. And at 32, his best days are behind him.  

Again, this is not about race but it’s fair to wonder why former Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach Leeman Bennett never asked Young to run the football nine times per game like Shanahan asks Griffin III?  And why isn’t Luck running deep pass routes against double coverage as Griffin III did two weeks ago?  Andrew Luck photo: sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Consider these numbers: Young rushed 74 times in 1986 while Griffin III is on pace for 144 carries this season.  Is Griffin III twice as fast as 25 year-old Young?    

Someone who really cares about Griffin III’s health and career should encourage him to have a serious conversation with his head coach.  He should insist Shanahan stop treating him like he runs on batteries.  He ought to demand his offense look more like what Luck is executing in Indianapolis.

Without a doubt the quarterback position in the NFL is open to more players than ever before.  But I fear talent like Griffin III is taught with little nuance and even less focus on actual development.  It’s as if Shanahan doesn’t care if Griffin III learns the material; he simply wants him to pass the weekly tests.    


The Colts’ offense gives Luck a foundation he’ll likely build on while the Redskins are lazily relying on Griffin III to deliver action hero stunts.

And as the Falcons proved in week five, there are no stunt doubles in the NFL.    



What the pundits can’t or won’t say


-The Philadelphia Eagles are now 16-17 in their last 33 games.  Photo: nj.com


-It’s apparent to me LeSean McCoy has had enough of Andy Reid’s foolish play calling.  


-Jon Gruden accurately noted McCoy was “hot” last night. But Reid either couldn’t or wouldn’t adjust. His lack of flexibility is his biggest blind spot.


-Keep a close eye on tackling the rest of the season. The new rules preventing contact and padded practices mean weak defenses will get worse.  


-I don’t agree with the notion quarterbacks must be tall to succeed in the NFL but you have to have a higher football IQ and a smarter coach if you’re short.     


-Philip Rivers’ regression and Norv Turner’s general norville-ness hides the fact A.J. Smith is doing a bad job.


-Now you know why college coaches keep making the leap to the NFL. They see Turner and Romeo Crennel and think, “How hard can it be?”


-Dan Dierdorf said Peyton Manning will call “15 run plays in a row…he has no ego when it comes to that.”  That’s not true Dan, and you know it!  If Manning had any genuine interest in running the football, he would have signed with San Francisco.


-If indeed there were quality tailbacks like DeAngelo Williams available at the trade deadline, the Packers will regret not getting one.


-Luck is having a terrific rookie season, but the two-year anticipation of his arrival makes it seem average.


-That Pepsi commercial makes Drew Brees look like a retired boy band member.  He is one little dude, but still taller than Vick.  


-The Giants should seriously consider resting Ahmad Bradshaw for a couple of weeks.  At this rate, there is no way he’ll have anything left after Thanksgiving.


-Bradshaw feet, Andre Brown’s shoulder and David Wilson’s youth are the reasons the 49ers will not release Brandon Jacobs.  


-Another outdoor game, another Vikings’ loss. Trust no dome team until they win a game in the elements.


-Twenty-five rushes by Ray Rice; twenty-four passes by Joe Flacco.  If they were unleashing the quarterback is it safe to say they’re now constraining him.     


-Mike Tomlin seems to make an incredibly poor decision every week.  Was he just in the right place at the right time?    


-The Colts’ win over Green Bay four weeks ago was inspiring and I sincerely hope head coach Chuck Pagano wins his fight against leukemia, but his post-game speech Sunday left me confused and uncomfortable.  If it’s bigger than football (and clearly, it is) why is he talking about his daughters and Lombardi Trophies in the same sentence?  I’m sure I’m in the minority, but to me it felt self-serving and explorative.  


Top 4 this week (Rankings disclaimer: My top four will always feature two AFC teams and two NFC teams): 


Atlanta Falcons (8-0) – Eventually, their reliance on Matt Ryan will cost them.

Houston Texans (7-1) – Matt Schaub is averaging 31 pass attempts per game.   

San Francisco 49ers (6-2) – Could equal last year’s win total…and disappointment.

Baltimore Ravens (6-2) – Returned from the bye and returned to their principles.  


Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention.  His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

Contact Earl at emyersiii@hotmail.com

Register NOW with Philly2Philly!  

Follow us on Philly2Philly's Facebook page!  And don't forget to "like" Philly2Philly

Follow us on Twitter

Any ideas or submissions? Just send them to info@philly2philly.com


RG III photo: nfl.si.com

Andrew Luck photo: sportsillustrated.cnn.com

Eagles photo: nj.com