Jason Reid's Undefeated piece about the decline ofRobert Griffin III is an excellent read in its own right. Reid's reporting is exhaustive and his analysis feels awfully close to being spot on.
But the piece is of special interest to Philadelphia Eagles fans for two reasons. First, it really does explain how the Eagles and the rest of the NFC East dodged what could have been a lethal bullet. While Griffin's decline is a source of frustration in Washington, elsewhere in the division it created a sense of relief.
If the guy who had dominated the NFC East in 2012 had been able to improve on his rookie performance each year, the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys would have been competing for wild-card berths for a decade.
But there's a second aspect of the story that is even more compelling to Eagles fans. Griffin's story has odd connections to the Eagles' own quarterback history.
Griffin was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, just as Donovan McNabb had been in 1999. And like McNabb's tenure in Philadelphia, race played a significant role in the story, from the fans' perceptions of McNabb to the epic feud that erupted with Terrell Owens in 2005.
More recently, Griffin is seen as a cautionary tale for teams sacrificing multiple assets in order to draft one player. In this case, the Eagles duplicated Washington's 2012 maneuver, trading a total of five draft picks in order to move up to the No. 2 pick in the draft.
They used that pick on Carson Wentz, of course. Four years earlier, Washington gave up three first-round picks as part of a package to move up to No. 2 to select Griffin.
But Eagles fans can actually take solace in wholesale jerseys Reid's account of Griffin's tenure in Washington. Back in 2012, Reid writes, Washington owner Daniel Snyder was the driving force behind the trade for Griffin. Head coach Mike Shanahan had no choice but to make the best of wholesale NFL jerseys free shipping a situation he never would have created himself.
That's a huge difference in the wholesale NFL jerseys from China two stories. Eagles owner Jeff Lurie was clearly involved in the team's plan to trade up for Wentz. But it is just as clear that new coach Doug Pederson has been completely on board with that plan from the beginning. So was Howie Roseman, the executive vice president of football operations who executed the plan.
Shanahan's primary concern about Griffin was that the Heisman Trophy winner had run a spread offense at Baylor University. Griffin was wholesale jerseys from China used to taking the snap from the shotgun and operating a read-option offense. Shanahan tried to add Griffin-friendly elements to his offense, but it seems clear the coach saw the quarterback's inexperience as a major hurdle.
Things are completely different with Wentz. For one thing, the word on Wentz -- from Pederson and Roseman to ESPN analyst and QB aficionado Jon Gruden -- is that he ran an offense at North Dakota State that was very similar to an NFL scheme.
The level of competition Wentz faced at the FCS level is a legitimate concern, but Wentz is comfortable calling plays in the huddle, reading the defense and making adjustments at the line of scrimmage. He can also move with the ball. Wentz may not have Griffin's remarkable speed, but he is not human statue like some other successful NFL QBs.
Wentz has very little chance of wholesale NFL jerseys duplicating Griffin's rookie success, because the plan is for Wentz to remain on the sideline for at least this season. Pederson is following a very structured plan with Wentz, whereas it looked as if Shanahan was constantly improvising with Griffin in Washington.
Pederson's plan, of course, is based on Andy Reid's 1999 plan with McNabb. Like Pederson, Reid was very much on board with the team's decision to take a quarterback with the No. 2 pick in the draft. The Eagles earned that spot by virtue of their 3-13 record in 1998. They didn't have to trade anything for it.
But Reid's investment in McNabb was complete. The coach would succeed or fail based on the quarterback's development, and he did everything he could to support McNabb.
At first glance, the situations all seem pretty similar -- quarterbacks selected No. 2 overall. But Reid's story takes a much deeper look at what happened with RG III in Washington. It may be a cautionary tale for someone, but it shouldn't be for the Eagles. They are doing things as differently as possible from the way things were done in Washington.