The AFC North’s quarterbacks have been making some news to close minicamp. Todd Haley says this is possibly the best quarterback’s room he has been in. Robert Griffin has been trying his hand at being the mentor he never had, and Ben Roethlisberger says he is more focused on rings than money.
Griffin finds new life in the NFL
It is no secret that at this point in Griffin’s career teams don’t view him as a starting quarterback anymore. Last year, he wasn’t even viewed as a backup quarterback. He hasn’t played since Week 17 against the Steelers in 2016. He started the season off by getting injured against the Eagles. He didn’t start again until Week 14.
With the Ravens, he knows his roster spot is far from guaranteed after the team drafted Lamar Jackson in the first round. However, he seems to be using that pick to help his chances, whether it is intentional or not.
“I try to take that and look at it in a positive way to try to help Lamar navigate a lot of the things that I had to navigate on my own,” Griffin told Ben Baskin of Sports Illustrated. “I feel like he really trusts me and believes what I’m telling him and I think that’s made him a better player already in a short amount of time.”
It is true Griffin really never had a mentor. In fact, he had quite the opposite. After Washington traded away a king’s ransom to draft Griffin second overall, they spent their fourth-round pick on Kirk Cousins, who would end up competing with Griffin from the start. This didn’t seem to have an impact early with Griffin, but as his career took a turn, he quickly had his team turn their back on him. In their defense, he was a bit of a diva early.
Still, there is plenty of knowledge Griffin can pass along to Jackson. They were both viewed as mobile guys coming out of college, and just learning the playbook and stuff is a challenge that Griffin can help with. Only time will tell if this will help get Griffin a roster spot, because his play sure isn’t going to vault him up the depth chart.
Todd Haley tries to make his ex jealous
Haley was the sacrificial lamb from last season for the Steelers. His and Roethlisberger’s relationship had clearly come to a breaking point despite the success Haley brought to his career.
Now, Haley is in Cleveland as the offensive coordinator. He is working with the first-overall pick Bakey Mayfield, as well as Tyrod Taylor who is fresh of getting the Bills to the playoffs.
“This is probably one of the best — if not the best — quarterbacks rooms, in general, that I’ve had,” Haley told Tim Benz of Trib Live. ”The group, in general, is what I’m excited about. I think that it’s an intelligent, intelligent group, with ability to throw the football and make plays with their legs, some of them. When you have that, I think that good things happen. Competition is created in the room, even though they’re working hard together to help each other and get better as a group.”
Obviously, Haley has worked with Roethlisberger, but he has also gone to a Super Bowl with Kurt Warner as well, so this is very high praise. Nothing against Taylor and Mayfield. Taylor has proven he is a very quality bridge quarterback and Mayfield could end up being the starter Cleveland has spent years searching for.
Neither of these guys compares to the talent level of Warner and Roethlisberger. This is a clearly obvious jab at his most recent former quarterback who wasn’t even sure he wanted to keep playing football.
It was clear Haley did his job in Pittsburgh. Roethlisberger’s stats were more consistent than ever, and he wasn’t put in harm's way as often. Why the two didn’t get along? Who knows. It also wasn’t his fault that the Steelers’ defense had been consistently bad for a few seasons. Clearly though, Haley isn’t afraid to take some jabs now that he is Cleveland though.
Roethlisberger wants rings over money
I was very tempted to just write “well tell that to the owners so they can give the money to Le’Veon Bell.” However, this is a much broader subject than that. It really shows the state of the NFL that most players believe they have to take pay cuts in order to play for a talented team.
In fact, it is Roethlisberger saying things like this and Tom Brady taking a team-friendly deal that make players like Aaron Donald, Odell Beckham Jr. and even Julio Jones look bad in fans’ eyes when they hold out or want new deals.
Fans already have a hard time with the amount of money players make because they look at it as a comparison between their own salaries instead of that of the players’ bosses’ and peers’.
Joe Schmoe would be very upset if his coworker who isn’t as good as the same office job as he is got paid more than him. He would do everything in his power to get paid at least as much as them.
The reason I don’t want to bash Roethlisberger for saying this is it seems he has a motive for doing this.
“I think there are a lot more, maybe a lot more important people who need to get their deals done now,” Roethlisberger told Josh Fowler of ESPN. “For me to do it two years out, if it doesn’t make sense for the team, I’m not going to sit here and worry about it.”
It seems obvious that Roethlisberger wants the Steelers to take care of his superstar running back, which is a noble cause. Also. Roethlisberger is two years away from his deal being up, so there is no rush to get an extension.
The only reason would be if the Steelers can clear out cap space this season by doing so. This is far more team friendly behavior than a certain receiver.