Heading into the home stretch the football season begins to take on a different feel. The teams with a shot are beginning to separate themselves from the pack, division winners are starting to be talked about and the coaching merry go round is being primed for its annual spin as the teams footing the standings edge closer to calling time on their seasons. So let’s take a trip around the league and take a look at what has been going on throughout Weeks 11 and 12 of the NFL season.
Meltdown in Washington
Do you remember Robert Griffin III? Do you remember the endless media buzz when he and Andrew Luck got themselves drafted as number one and two ahead of the 2012 season? It seems like a long time ago now, but over the last couple of weeks we’ve seen RG3 return to the spotlight in a big way over in DC, and for all the wrong reasons. The debate isn’t whether or not he’s as good as Luck now, that chapter seems closed, and we have to decide whether or not the former Heisman trophy winner has any future in Washington.
Okay, maybe it isn’t that bad. But being publicly called out by the head coach over some lack lustre performances isn’t where Griffin wants to be right now. Unfortunately, if you lead your team towards a 3-7 record in the NFL you’re going to be in the firing line, and there’s going to be talk about your future.
What took the looming RG3 crisis to a different level is the naivety of a young quarterback speaking out about the failing of his team directly to the media, and the haste of a rookie head coach to offer a very blunt, and public retort
What took the looming RG3 crisis to a different level is the naivety of a young quarterback speaking out about the failing of his team directly to the media, and the haste of a rookie head coach to offer a very blunt, and public retort.
It all points to an unhappy dressing room in Washington, and one which the organisation is struggling to keep under wraps. This week it was reported that Jay Gruden has been given permission from upon high to ‘revoke Griffin’s privileges’, which we can assume means that he’s no longer a protected outright number one at Washington, and the competition for the quarterback position will be open for the remainder of the season.
Benching Griffin would be a huge move by Gruden, and it would all but confirm that the professional relationship between head coach and quarterback will not extend into the 2015-16 season – but will it be the rookie coach or the wonder-child quarterback who heads for pastures new?
Jets recovery crashes and burns
Full disclosure, your writer is a Jets fan, and he’s hurting right now. This season in New Jersey has been a complete shambles, and that’s something which has been addressed before – Rex Ryan doesn’t have a good enough roster to mount anything close to a divisional challenge. Or salvage a .500 season.
The crisis with the Jets is only more noteworthy because of the schizophrenic approach the franchise has taken in recent years
But that’s by the by really, because there are other terrible teams out there in the NFL, every season has a team struggling to put 3 wins on the board through the regular season. The crisis with the Jets is only more noteworthy because of the schizophrenic approach the franchise has taken in recent years, with the 2013-15 season being a continuation of a theme, and it comes down to one big question.
Who is the number one quarterback in New York? Nobody knows.
Geno Smith, who started the season as the hero destined to lead the jets to the post season after a disappointing rookie season attracted the ire of fans, and soon found himself benched after leading the offence to a dismal 1-7 record. Replaced by veteran QB Michael Vick, who brings years of experience and a proven arm to a leaderless Jets offence, the season looked to be over for young Geno – and in all likelihood his career in New York. When Vick delivered victory over Pittsburgh, things looked to be heading in he right direction, a veteran under centre was the key and the Jets might just save their season. Geno is gone, long live Vick.
You can’t build a successful team without a consistent and confident quarterback, and the current approach to the position in New York won’t deliver a winning team in time for next season
Until Buffalo, and a 31-3 losing score line for the Michael Vick led Jets, which sees the position change hands once again, Vick heading for the bench and Smith finishing the game – ultimately losing 38-3, but the damage had long since been done.
Following the game, head coach Rex Ryan refused to name his starter for next weeks game, but we’ve reached the point where it doesn’t matter who actually plays on the day, insofar as the result could scarcely matter less. The season is done and the coaching staff is destined to be overhauled when the games are all in the books, results at this point aren’t going to save anyone’s jobs – but these games can serve a purpose. You can’t build a successful team without a consistent and confident quarterback, and the current approach to the position in New York won’t deliver a winning team in time for next season. The indecision on show only makes sense if the intention is to toss baby and bath water out in the close season, with all three quarterbacks looking for new jobs.
That’s right, three – because whilst all this is going on, second year quarterback Matt Simms sits completely untested on the bench, unable to get any game time despite neither of the job sharing number ones laying anything close to a solid claim to the spot.
Odell Beckham Jr. & that catch
Away from all of that quarterback news, away from all the arguments about who is going to come out on top in AFC West, and away from the mumblingsabout which coaches are living on borrowed time, we’ve got to sit back and just admire some truly astonishing play in the NFL sometimes. This week it’s Odell Beckham Jr. who stole the headlines with a breathtaking end zone catch, which you can’t truly appreciate without seeing for yourself – something which left commentators and pundits around the league speechless.
After taking a little time to cool off and come to terms with what happened in New York, the consensus seems to be that Beckham Jr. may very well have pulled off one of the greatest receptions in NFL history. It’s a shame, perhaps, that the rookie wide receiver couldn’t secure victory for his New York Giants team mates with more spectacular offensive play, but it certainly made sure Beckham Jr. will never forget Sunday night at the Meadowlands.
Images courtesy of John McDonnell/The Washington Post/Getty Images & ESPN