Does Robert Griffin III Lack Leadership?


Nov 3, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) runs with the ball past San Diego Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget (94) at FedEx Field. The Redskins defeated the Chargers 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Hall of Famer and former Washington Redskins cornerback Darrell Green knows a thing or two about leadership, playing 20 NFL seasons and winning two Super Bowls.  So his comments about the Redskins lacking leadership this year caught many fans and players in the organization off-guard.

The San Francisco 49ers’ opponents on Monday, Nov. 25, haven’t lacked controversy over the years, from the choleric owner Dan Snyder to the mercurial “ol’ ball coach” Steve Spurrier.  But recent comments from the ever-popular Green regarding Washington’s lack of leadership raised more than a few eyebrows in the locker room.

On defense, another enduring veteran in London Fletcher has set the standard for performance and durability among linebackers, much like Green did for all-Pro cornerbacks in his day.  Fletcher is an iron man himself, playing in his 16th NFL season at a high level, and is the face of the Redskins’ defense–a leader in the locker room.

Robert Griffin III, also known as RG III is reaching iconic status due to his Heisman Trophy at Baylor and his high visibility in leading the Redskins into the playoffs during his rookie season.  His athleticism and the ability to produce astonishing gains both on the ground and through the air have made him the prototypical quarterback in today’s modern era.  He’s also affable and displays a work ethic that even veterans look up to.  His determination during the rehabbing of his torn ACL has been well-documented.

While the Redskins have been mediocre on the field this season, most would argue it’s due to lack of performance, not lack of leadership.  Both Fletcher and Griffin have earned their stripes during practices and games, in the locker room and on the field.

But could Green be right?  Is Fletcher too old to lead his troops to battle?  Is Griffin too young to command the respect of his veterans?  The defense has been porous–especially through the air.  While Fletcher was named to the Pro Bowl last year, his production has dropped a bit this season.

While Griffin has thrown for more yards this year, the offense hasn’t been as efficient, as his runs off the pistol offense have become less frequent in order to protect his body.

The special teams have been a disaster, partly due to the departure of Lorenzo Alexander, last year’s long-term captain.  Former special teams coach Danny Smith is also gone, disrupting the continuity of the unit.  Lack of leadership certainly afflicts the special teams.

However, the players in the locker room insist that lack of leadership on the field are NOT the issues:  lack of playmakers and execution of the game plan are the culprits.

Even Hall of Famers can slip occasionally.