The St. Louis Rams were having some fun this week after that grizzled veteran, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, accused Rams players of being “dirty” and “unprofessional” in last Sunday’s game at the Edward Jones Dome.
Maybe Griffin didn’t notice on the tape he watched the times Redskins players also went beyond the whistle, but after his second NFL game, maybe he can be excused for opening up a can of worms that is better off staying closed.
Griffin said, “There was some extracurricular stuff going on after the plays last week. They were doing a lot of dirty things. I still think they have an extremely good team and that doesn’t take anything away from them, but the game was unprofessional. Who am I to talk? I’ve barely been a pro very long, but from what I experienced against the Saints compared to that game, it was definitely unprofessional. It does need to be cleaned up.”
Of course, the Saints defense is now coached by Steve “Four Pillars” Spagnuolo, plus the Saints have to be doubly careful because anything they do will probably have people screaming, “Bounty!”
Ironically, Griffin uttered the “bounty” word when he talked about an alleged forearm to his head delivered by linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, a former Saints player.
Griffin said, “They say they want to get the quarterback out. I don’t want to tip-toe the lines of anything that’s happened like bounties or anything like that, but they were definitely going after me.”
Whoa! Stop the presses. Defensive players trying to get after the quarterback and take him out? Nah, that never happens in the National Football League. Wait until Mr. Rookie travels to Pittsburgh on Oct. 28 and makes his acquaintance with Steelers linebacker James Harrison (assuming he is back from a knee injury that currently has him sidelined). Griffin will probably think what the Rams were doing was child’s play compared to the big, bad Steelers.
When asked if he thinks teams will continue to go after him (now there’s a groundbreaking question), Griffin said, “They made it a point – obviously all week – to hit me. Some of the shots were cheap in that nature, but it’s nothing I can control. Like I said, teams are going to try to hit me because they don’t think I can take a hit. I think I’ve proven over my career that I can. It’s football. I remember one play, after the play, the guy said, ‘We’re going to hit you every play.’ I said, ‘Isn’t this football?’ It’s nothing that I’m not used to. It was extremely weird the way they went about it, though.”
What’s weird are Griffin’s words. In one breath, he talks about being hit because “it’s football,” then wonders, “Isn’t this football?” in response to alleged comments that he was going to be hit. Then there’s the one about having proved he can take a hit “over my career.” Which career is that? Two games in the NFL? Or college, in that traditionally rough house, defense-first Big 12?
Rams running back Steven Jackson said Thursday of the NFL, “It’s not the Big 12.”
Jackson went on to say, “I don’t think we’re a dirty team. I think we’re a team that’s hungry, young and eager and ready to make a turnaround in the franchise … We’ve got a lot of young guys and when you have young guys, you’re going to see a lot of energy.”
Rams coaches Jeff Fisher and Dave McGinnis also had their say Thursday. McGinnis, the team’s assistant head coach, said, “I’ve been in this league 27 years and have never been on a dirty defense. I’ve been on some damn tough ones. Never been on a dirty one.”
Asked about Griffin’s comments, Fisher said, “We’re going to play aggressive and we’re going to play hard to the whistle and that’s it. This is the National Football League. He’s going to be a good player and if he took issue with how we played, so be it. I’m not concerned about that. I’m more concerned about the Bears.”
Marshall on Finnegan: Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall knows the experience of going against Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan. Marshall said, “It says that you take on the character of your leader, so in the secondary you can see them doing the extra stuff after the whistle. That’s how Cortland approaches the game. That’s how he plays, so they’re a feisty bunch. We have to keep our composure, stay cool.”
Marshall then joked, “I’ll have my conversation with coach Lovie (Smith) and maybe (general manager) Phil (Emery) and tell them I may get ejected from this game if Cortland does the little cheap stuff.”
He then said, “I’m just playing. I retract that. Cortland and I have a great relationship. I have his jerseys up in my locker room. ‘Cortland, just stay (within) the whistle, so we both can get the (game) check in Week 4, OK?’”
The Quote: Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice on the reality of life in the NFL: “The quickest, fastest increment of time in the history of the universe: The time it takes a New York cab driver to beep his horn when the light turns green and the time it takes to go from the penthouse to the outhouse in the NFL.”