NFC East Roundup: Is RG3 Done?


NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Redskins

Two years ago, Robert Griffin III was the toast of the nation’s capital, but after a pair of injury-plagued seasons, it’s worth considering whether 2015 is a do-or-die campaign for the Heisman winner.

Rich Tandler takes it a step further, wondering if Griffin is done:

In short, starting the season nine months after reconstructive knee surgery and playing with a bulky brace, Griffin was about an average NFL quarterback. That’s not what the Redskins want him to be in the long term but the point is that he can be productive even playing essentially on one leg.

That same respondent said that Griffin’s “ego” would not allow him to do what it takes to get better. We don’t know who this person was so we have no way of knowing if he is in a position to gauge Griffin’s ego and the affect it has on what he is willing to do.

But will he grind his way back? Or does believe that a tweak here or there will fix things? He can be fine physically but if he is not mentally prepared to do what it takes to improve, whether it’s his “ego” or whatever else that’s in the way, he will be spinning his wheels—and the franchise along with him.

Terrance Knighton, on the other hand, thinks Griffin can return to form in 2015:

Knighton, a teammate of Peyton Manning’s for the past two years, was asked for his early impressions of Robert Griffin III, the target of heavy criticism this offseason.

“He has all the tools to be a great quarterback,” Knighton said. “His main thing is just confidence and just going out there every day and just proving that he’s the leader and doing things right all the time. He had a great rookie year, so he put a lot of pressure on himself, but I think he’s ready to prove everyone wrong. … I’m going to share my knowledge of what I learned from Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware and guys like that in Denver.”

Bill Barnwell of Grantland listed Tony Romo as the sixth-best player in the NFL:

It’s a shame we’ve collectively decided not to take Romo seriously, because he sure was great last year. He comfortably posted the best QBR in the league at 83.6, beating out Aaron Rodgers by more than six full points. Romo was no. 1 in both completion percentage and yards per attempt, becoming just the second qualifying passer to accomplish that in 13 years. He was tied for the league lead with five game-winning drives, and the only quarterback with more fourth-quarter comebacks was Matthew Stafford. I’m sure DeMarco Murray and that dominant running game helped, but it also distracted from just how great Romo was in 2014. NFL players put him 30 spots behind Murray, which is an argument for not listening to NFL players.

Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas thinks this year may be the year TE Gavin Escobar contributes to the Cowboys offense:

Sorry to be wishy-washy here, but maybe. It will depend on how Escobar fares in camp. He will be given the chance to run alongside Witten when the Cowboys use their two-tight-end personnel grouping. Hanna won that job last year and did a nice job.

Escobar has improved as a blocker but his strong suit will never be as an on-the-line tight end. He has gotten bigger and a little stronger, but he is so long that it’s hard for him to win the leverage game enough to be on the line all of the time. To me, [James] Hanna is the better of the two when the Cowboys use two tight ends, especially in the running game, and Escobar can have a decent package of plays that can use what he does best.

He has 18 catches and six touchdowns in two seasons. That’s a pretty good ratio. He can be effective running the seams and in the red zone. In effect, he can be another receiver if the Cowboys want to spread the field more.

Dan Graziano of ESPN New York reports that Eli Manning is hoping to have a new contract by the start of training camp:

Contract extension talks between the New York Giants and quarterback Eli Manning have intensified in recent weeks as the team makes a late effort to see whether a deal can be done before training camp starts next week, according to sources close to the situation.

One source Thursday described the Giants as confident a deal would get done “at some point” to keep Manning with the team for the remainder of his career. And while the Giants would prefer to do the deal before the team begins training camp practices July 31, they remain comfortable with the idea of waiting until next offseason if they can’t reach an agreement they consider fair.

The Giants are willing to pay a premium price to keep Manning. Privately, they acknowledge that the front-loaded four-year, $87.4 million extension Ben Roethlisberger signed with the Steelers earlier this offseason provides a template for Manning’s deal, and they’re OK with the idea of paying Manning an average annual salary in that range, depending on structure and guarantees.

Jordan Raanan of NJ.com gives a reason for the Giants to be optimistic in 2015:

It’s still July. Every team is undefeated and dreaming of the Super Bowl.

As the Giants report to training camp on Thursday, there are reasons for optimism. They have a second-year offensive coordinator, a first-year defensive coordinator and 65 of 90 players on their roster that joined the team within the past two years.

The Giants believe they have a fresh vibe. It took three and a half years but Super Bowl XLVI and the 2011 season are no longer the template. They’ve finally been put in the rearview mirror, transition that was equally difficult and necessary.