Multiple members of the Washington Redskins organization told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter this week that they believe the decision to go back to quarterback Robert Griffin III and away from Colt McCoy, who had led the team to two straight wins, is an owner- and general manager-driven decision.
Redskins executive Tony Wyllie strongly denied that, telling ESPN it was the "coach [Jay Gruden's] decision, and the owner has nothing to do with it -- scratch that."
Griffin made his first start since Week 2 and went 18-for-28 for 251 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Owner Dan Snyder and GM Bruce Allen are strong Griffin supporters and sources tell ESPN they believe the time is right for him to return to the starting lineup.
Griffin's support with players, however, is not as strong as it is with the highest levels of the organization, according to sources.
When Griffin began addressing the media in the locker room on Friday for the first time since dislocating his left ankle in Week 2, about 15 teammates began shouting. It was so loud and distracting, the franchise quarterback -- and reporters -- had to leave the locker room so Griffin could speak someplace where he could be heard. That's when the cheering got even more boisterous.
A source familiar with the incident told ESPN's Britt McHenrythat Griffin has "alienated himself" from the locker room.
Griffin gave his account of Friday's incident and challenged the veracity of the subsequent report, saying: "We could hold a panel of guys that were in there that got the media out of the locker room. I know exactly what happened. We were laughing and they were creating the joke. It escalated quickly, and I think the Washington media and the people that are here will understand at the end of the day it is our locker room. Both sides need to respect each other. You guys have a job to do and we have a job to do, and it won't happen again, but it had nothing to do with them worrying about me starting or not wanting to start. ... It is completely false, the reasoning behind that report, but I try not to dive into what you guys have to do.
Gruden addressed McHenry's report by saying, "I saw that. It was an amateurish report. Totally not true. For anybody who reads that, to believe that, they're an amateur. Anybody who reports that is an amateur. It's totally false. Just something else you have to deal with up here at a press conference, that Robert has to deal with, that the players have to deal with, that they're going to write about and ask about. But we are in [Washington] D.C., it is Robert Griffin, they're going to try and tear him down and tear us down, for whatever reason. But we're going to stay united as a locker room and that's that. We're not going to let anybody get to us. That's some small-time reporter reporting fiction."
"You can't really worry about the negativity that is swirling around. Someday that will stop, I truly believe that," Griffin said. "I believe someday the negativity will stop, and people will stop trying to tear us down from the outside in and make it look like it is coming from the inside out."
Griffin sent out this tweet in the hours before Sunday's game.