Robert Griffin III and Brock Osweiler Face career-defining Moments
Quarterbacks are always under scrutiny. It comes with the job description.
But for two of them on Sunday, winning or losing could mean the difference between continuing an NFL career, or alternative employment asking folks if they’d like french fries with that burger.
OK, we exaggerate.
But Robert Griffin III and Brock Osweiler do face career-defining moments. NFL analysts will be dissecting every move.
In Cleveland, Griffin will attempt a return to the form that once made him a shining star in Washington. The Browns announced on Thursday that Griffin will start against Cincinnati on Sunday.
The Browns signed the 2012 NFL offensive rookie of the year as a free agent, last offseason, hoping coach Hue Jackson could help him revive his career, and restore the Browns’ to respectability.
Neither has happened; Griffin missing the entire season after suffering a broken shoulder in Week 1. In using five different players behind centre, the Browns have gone 0-12, suggesting Griffin improves prospects just by showing up.
The Browns are projected to have the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, but Griffin will at least get a shot at proving to management that he could be the solution at quarterback, at least short-term. He’s scheduled to earn $7.5 million next season but none of the money is guaranteed.
So, essentially, Griffin is auditioning for his football future.
In that sense, Griffin’s situation is not much different than the one Osweiler finds himself in with the Texans. There are already those who believe the $72 million, four-year deal he got is the worst free-agent signing ever by an NFL team. Osweiler’s deal is guaranteed through next season for $37 million and this weekend he must prove he’s worthy.
The Texans face their most important game of the season against the Colts. And, Osweiler understands, the way this turns out could go a long way to how his own future turns out.
“This game Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis, this is the biggest game of our season,” said Osweiler, as the Texans are tied with the Colts and Titans for the division lead at 6-6. “I’m viewing our season right now as a one-game season and it’s a one game that we must win. I think our entire football team understands that … you can expect our best effort Sunday.”
Osweiler has been a magnet for criticism during a three-game losing streak.
“I always believe that I can play better,” he said. “I’m striving for perfection every single week. So there’s nobody that’s ever going to judge themselves harder than my own self.”
A win Sunday would resolve much of the pressure, leaving Houston up 4-0 against their division rivals; basically making the Colts’ playoff hopes toast.
Lose and a season, a career, and a gilded contract, all stand to unravel.
NOW OR NEVER
Eli Manning is the 22nd-ranked quarterback with an 88.3 passer rating, and the Giants offence has averaged just 20 points a game.
So, a win Sunday over Dallas, would go a long way to alleviating the fan base’s angst about their team’s playoff prospects.
“Hey, we’re the only team to beat Dallas,” Manning said on his radio show, “and we’re going against them at home now, and we’ve been playing great at home. So this is a chance to prove that we are a good team … a playoff team.”
They’ve done little to prove that so far. The Giants need to rebound from a beating by the Steelers, and with the league’s fourth-toughest schedule in the final quarter of the season, there are no soft touches, particularly for a team that has just two wins against teams with plus-.500 records.
A loss Sunday would drop their playoff chances near 50%, with one home game remaining against the Lions, followed by trips to Philadelphia and Washington.
A QB ON THE QT
Terrell Suggs will admit the Patriots have a pretty good quarterback.
He just won’t acknowledge the fact by name.
With Tom Brady returning to full practice from a sore leg for Sunday’s matchup against the Ravens, Suggs continued to refuse to actually mention Brady’s name, referring to him as “the pretty boy from up north.”
Asked about Brady becoming the winningest quarterback in league history, he replied: “He’s pretty good. Numbers don’t lie.”
Asked if he didn’t want to talk about Brady, he replied: “I’m like Marshawn Lynch. I know why I’m here. It’s a big game this week. It’s going to be fun.”
Asked if he wasn’t going to say Brady’s name, Suggs said: “It’s going to be an interesting game. We accept the challenge.”
Brady, meantime, told reporters he’s feeling better.
“I’d much rather be practicing than getting treatment. It was good to be out there. It was a productive day and we’ve got to have a productive week, too.”
If the Pats want to clinch the No. 1 seed in post-season, they’ll have to do it against the league’s best defence.
“They’re the first-rated defence in the league so no one has done a better job over the course of the season than them,” Brady said. “They contest every yard … They don’t give you anything easy. You have to earn it … so we’re prepared for a 60-minute game.”
“It gives you guys a bad name. He’s one of your colleagues, and irresponsible reporting doesn’t shine well for all of you, and that’s too bad because … I enjoy talking to you guys.” — Bears’ defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, denying a Chicago newspaper story that he’ll be let go in an off-season coaching staff overhaul.
“It just re-establishes that no matter where you are, no matter who you are, this can happen to you. It’s about to be 2017. Oppression, racism, hatred, violence, there’s no need for that.” — Giants fullback Nikita Whitlock, after burglars scrawled a swastika, the letters “KKK” and the phrase “Go back to Africa” at his New Jersey home during a break-in.
ESPN reports Atlanta has kept cornerback Robert Alford from becoming a free agent by signing him to a four-year deal with $21 million in guarantees and up to $38 million in total money … Jets centre Nick Mangold, plagued by an injured right ankle since Week 7, will miss the rest of the season … Lions starting centre Travis Swanson has missed practice this week and, in the league’s concusion protocol, could be sidelined Sunday … Former University of Regina star, Akeem Hicks is NFC defensive player of the week … Houston defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (wrist/elbow), practiced and says he’ll play Sunday.