One of the many changes we have seen across the NFL as a result of the replacement officiating crews is players complaining about dirty play. Rookies typically don’t say much during their first professional season, but Robert Griffin III apparently felt as though the Rams threw enough cheap shots at him last Sunday that saying something was warranted.
“I remember one play,” Griffin said according to an Associated Press report. “After the play, the guy said, ‘We’re going to hit you every play.’ I said, ‘Isn’t this football?’ It’s nothing that I’m not used to. It was extremely weird the way they went about it, though.
“They were doing a lot of dirty things. I still think they have an extremely good team, that doesn’t take anything away from them, but the game was unprofessional. Who am I to talk? I’ve barely been a pro for very long, but from what I experienced against the Saints compared to that game, it was definitely unprofessional and it does need to be cleaned up.”
RG3 thought the Rams had made it a plan to target him in their practices all week, but he stopped short of getting into any talk about bounties.
“I don’t want to tip-toe the lines of anything that’s happened with bounties or anything like that, but they were definitely going after me,” he said. “They made it a point, obviously, all week to hit me. Some of the shots were cheap of that nature. But it’s nothing I can control. Teams are going to try to hit me because they don’t think I can take a hit. I think I’ve proved over my career that I can.”
Trying to hit a rookie quarterback early and often is not a new strategy. Griffin has the ball in his hands for a number of run plays as well as throws, so the Rams likely wanted to do anything they could to rattle him and make his inexperience show through. Veterans have also complained about their opponents playing dirty this year, so perhaps it is the result of the replacement officials not having control over the games. Still, it’s surprising to hear a rookie speak so candidly about it.