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Darrell Green, Collinsworth Tussle Over RGIII’s Leadership, Shanahan’s Future

by Chris Lingebach
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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - Darrell Green made on appearance on Inside the NFL on Showtime – alongside Cris Collinsworth, Phil Simms and James Brown – on Wednesday, and the focus of one particular segment was devoted to the struggling 3-6 Redskins, the viability of RGIII as a leader, and Mike Shanahan’s future with the franchise.

Shanahan’s fate as the Redskins’ head coach appears to be hanging in the balance, in light of a recent column by Jason Reid of the Washington Post handling the delicate issue of extending him. This issue was paramount to the discussion, as pundits all week have weighed-in on whether Shanahan deserves to see the remaining year of his contract, or if it’s time for Washington to cut bait.

[via NFL on Showtime]

“You talk about RGIII, and you’re there,” Simms said to Green. “And we’re on the outside and we’ve talked about it, but the publicity and the focus on him, I’ve never seen it greater maybe on any player, except maybe Tim Tebow. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady didn’t get this much attention. How did you perceive that down in Washington?”

“I’ve always heard this old saying: ‘Rich and famous,'” Green answered. “Throw the rich out. Before the kid ever took one snap, he was more famous than anything you could think of, and at 23, 24-years-old, 21, whatever, I think that’s a lot of pressure. And so you go back and you look at everything that he did last year, that was great, but then the injury comes on, that’s a lot of pressure on this kid.”

“He didn’t come out of a passing system of college,” Collinsworth said. “And so they were very anxious, to, yea okay, great rookie year and he took us to the playoffs, and now we’re going to take that next step, and we’re going to develop him as a pocket passer, and he’s going to continue to grow, but because of the knee surgery, he didn’t get a chance to do that work in the offseason. So he’s come back, God bless him, he’s got a bad knee, he’s trying to just get out there and do the best he can. I think if they stay the course here, this is going to work, and work in a big way here in Washington.

“Stay the course, meaning?” JB asked.

“Don’t fire the coach!” Collinsworth shouted. “I mean, they’re going to try and fire the coach at the end of the year. It’s crazy! You just take what the system is, it’s perfectly built for him. Let him develop him as a pocket passer, next season they’re gonna be the favorite to win the division.”

But when the conversation shifted to identifying the leader of the Redskins franchise, Collinsworth and Green couldn’t seem to agree on Robert Griffin III. Just four days ago, London Fletcher, widely regarded as the team’s undisputed locker room leader, refuted the notion of Griffin being the same, dismissing him as nothing more than the face of the franchise.

Green mirrored that sentiment, while giving Griffin the benefit of having to endure an unreasonable amount of pressure.

“I played eleven years for Joe Gibbs’ Super Bowl championships,” Green said. “I played nine years for a bunch of other coaches. That nine, plus the eleven I’ve been out has been twenty years of losing, so I understand the pressure. And this kid came in as sort of the savior, and what people would expect is that, ‘What you did last year, come back and do it again. Let’s just do it again.’”

“Who’s the leader of that team?” JB asked. “Not the face of the team, the leader?”

“I think that’s a problem,” Green said. “I think it’s super important to have leadership, and I don’t think [RGIII] really is the leader.”

“Who do you think is the leader?” JB asked.

“I don’t know if they have a leader,” Green said.

“London Fletcher,” Collinsworth said.

“Well, London Fletcher is, but I’ve been that old player before,” Green said, “and you, you’re a moral leader, people love you and respect you, but you’re really not the leader. You’re not. I mean, if you play a long time, and really you shouldn’t be to many extents because, in my opinion, the leadership should come from the offensive side of the ball, because the game is such an offense-based game.”

Collinsworth wouldn’t stand for Green’s response.

“Robert Griffin is an unbelievable leader,” he said. “Teams are built now around first-, second-, and third-year players, they’re the great majority of the players on the team, and Robert Griffin is the guy that’s gonna take them where they want to go if they just leave the whole thing alone. Next year you’ll go, ‘Oh my gosh, we almost blew it up. That would have been the dumbest thing ever.’”

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