Redskins players, some of them at least, would always say linebacker London Fletcher had a good sense of humor. We didn’t always see that because he saved it for times we weren’t in the locker room. But everyone certainly got a taste of it with this tweet in response to a request for captions. The picture was of Tiger Woods and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo on the green, with Romo kneeling and trying to get a read on his ball.
There’s still a lot of angst over DeSean Jackson missing the first week of voluntary workouts. (He told the Redskins he had a pre-planned vacation before he signed with them.) The angst seems to stem more from what critics are saying – they’re allowed to have an opinion, by the way – than it does from him actually missing. As I wrote the other day, if he doesn’t show up Monday ready to work, then it’s an issue. And he’d be wise to have a strong rest of the offseason as well, just to lay a foundation for what he’ll be about in Washington. If he doesn’t, then ...
But when you land a guy like this, who was cut from his previous team reportedly for reasons relating to work ethic, then every move he makes – or doesn’t make – will be extra scrutinized. It’s just the way it is; accept and move on. When you get Jackson you get it all: playmaking ability plus increased attention. My guess is, had Jackson signed with Dallas a lot of people defending him would be poking fun at him for missing. That’s the way it is in sports.
If Jackson makes plays during the season and the Redskins are winning, then watch how quickly the narrative flips. The same is true of Robert Griffin III and his logo. If he starts strong, the storyline will be: What a great offseason he had. Actually, he has had an excellent one but it’s all behind the scenes so it’s difficult for some to process. The logo is out front so it’s easier to discuss. But his work matters 100 times more than the logo and no one can ever question his work ethic. If someone has a firm opinion on Griffin already, then the logo just adds to their belief.
My favorite line: Players should only focus on improving their game. So if a guy who had a tough season is out golfing (or doing business deals), they get pinged by some. There’s only so much players can do to get better in the offseason. I’d rather a guy be focused on a business deal than, say, someone just hanging out and doing nothing in his spare time. With Griffin, he's not only a quarterback but also carries a high profile because he's rather public. It's just who he is, but it also invites more opinions. His play will matter more. A lot more.
The thing I still wonder about with Jackson: Why would those in charge of the organization give him a mega-deal two years ago, knowing his habits and reputation are the same as they are now? Actually, I know the answer: Because he makes plays. By the way, every coach or player I spoke with about Jackson focused on that aspect first and foremost (doesn't matter which team they were on either). I also wonder if this stems at all from Chip Kelly having spent his entire career in college and having a different level of expectation for pro players. That’s not to say he’s wrong, but just wondering if an experienced NFL coach is better for Jackson. Jay Gruden has been around pro players at some level for a long time. Just a thought. There's also something to be said for coaches who know what they can, and can't, put up with. That's true on both sides here.
Touched on this Wednesday when the preseason schedule was released, but I can’t imagine Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will go out of his way to prove a point to Washington in a preseason game. He’s been around long enough to know it’s just a preseason game. If I’m Browns head coach Mike Pettine, I’d be perturbed if that’s the case because it could take away from what they need to do in the second preseason game. Still, it’ll make an otherwise dull preseason game a little more interesting.
And there’s no doubt the ultra-competitive Shanahan has to prove something this season. Had last year gone differently, he’d have been mentioned for head coaching vacancies. Now Shanahan needs to once again prove that he’s a good coordinator. That will be accomplished over 16 games, not in a preseason game.
The Redskins signed safety Akeem Davis, an undrafted free agent in 2013 from Memphis who signed with Seattle. The Seahawks cut him. Davis was not invited to the 2013 scouting combine, but reportedly had 40-yard dash times of 4.48 and 4.45 at his pro day.