ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Pushed and shoved throughout a game he felt was “unprofessional” and “dirty,” Robert Griffin III finally heard the obvious from one of the St. Louis Rams defensive players.
“I remember one play,” the Washington Redskins quarterback said. “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.”
Sunday’s 31-28 loss was barely over when the Redskins starting talking about replacement officials who had lost control and Rams players who were engaged in too much rough stuff after the whistle.
A few days have gone by, but it’s still too raw to let it rest. Griffin is going to handle the ball a lot this year — he already had 20 rushes in addition to 55 pass attempts — so the Redskins don’t want him taking any extra hits, especially ones that he feels aren’t clean.
“There was some extracurricular stuff going on after the plays,” Griffin said. “They were doing a lot of dirty things. I still think they have an extremely good team, that doesn’t take anything away from them, but the game was unprofessional. Who am I to talk? I’ve barely been a pro for very long, but from what I experienced against the Saints compared to that game, it was definitely unprofessional and it does need to be cleaned up.”
Griffin was sacked only once by the Rams, but he was knocked down several times.
“I don’t want to tiptoe the lines of anything that’s happened with bounties or anything like that, but they were definitely going after me,” Griffin said. “They made it a point, obviously, all week to hit me. Some of the shots were cheap of that nature. But it’s nothing I can control. Teams are going to try to hit me because they don’t think I can take a hit. I think I’ve proved over my career that I can.”
It’s something the Redskins have to watch as they prepare for this week’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The replacement officials are getting a reputation for letting players get away with more.
“You have to have people take control,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “And there wasn’t any control in that game. Hopefully officials next week will take control. That’s what you have to do as an official.”
If the first couple of weeks are any indication, the Redskins (1-1) are going to have to rely on Griffin more than planned this season. Traditionally, rookie quarterbacks succeed when they’re surrounded by a solid running game and good defense, but Washington has already allowed 63 points and has lost injured defensive starters Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker for the season.
Griffin and the offense were able to outscore the Saints in Week 1 and came close to beating the Rams. The Redskins actually lead the NFL in scoring with 68 points, and they might have to keep up that pace unless the defense improves.
“We’ve definitely got to put up a lot of points to help them out until they get their situation on that side of the ball fixed with the injuries and the stuff like that,” tight end Fred Davis said.
Griffin also had the usual humorous and insightful moments during his weekly news conference, including the latest update on his ongoing marketing tussle with NFL uniform sponsor Nike.
Griffin, who has a deal with Adidas, upset the league office when he covered up the Nike swoosh with the letter “H” to spell the word “heart” on his official team warm-up shirt before the opener against the Saints.
So, he instead wore a plain gray T-shirt over the warm-up shirt when he took field before the Saints game. Asked if he was covering up the swoosh because of his Adidas allegiance, he laughed.
“Um. Nah. It’s, uh. Yes,” he finally said. “There’s no way around that one. I can’t dance around that one. In the preseason I had a blank, white, normal NFL equipment one, and they took it and gave me the other one. I just wanted to have a blank shirt on, and I’ll probably have a blank one on the next game.”
Meanwhile, a visiting Japanese reporter joined in the RG3 hoopla, asking Griffin about the fact that he was born in Japan as the son of military parents.
“I’d like to thank my mom and dad for having me over there,” he said.
But Griffin didn’t play any football in Japan. His mother declared it off-limits.
“My mom wouldn’t let me play football as a kid,” he said. “She didn’t want me to get hurt. I didn’t play until I was in seventh grade.”
Which means his mother probably wasn’t happy with that Rams game, either.
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