Extra Points: Dysfunction in D.C.

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(SportsNetwork.com) - Robert Griffin III is an issue but he's hardly the biggest one in the nation's capital.

And no, this is not about the multitude of hurdles in front of President Barack Obama right now, it's about football and the dysfunction of the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins risked it all by trading up to RG3 with the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. And when you push all your chips to the middle of the table, there's a chance you will go bust.

The Redskins crapped out this week when head coach Jay Gruden decided to bench his starter in favor of journeyman Colt McCoy for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Mental toughness is not exactly at the forefront of Griffin's impressive skill set so this could be a move Gruden can't come back from.

Griffin, though, is only a symptom of the underlying disease inside the Beltway, a fact highlighted last week when NFL.com reported Gruden was given the authority to bench the face of the franchise as breaking news.

In most NFL cities, at least the ones with successful teams, the head coach always has that right.

Gruden never did pull the trigger in Santa Clara despite the fact that Griffin was just 11-for-19 for 106 yards in a 17-13 loss against the 49ers' No. 2 ranked defense.

RG3 finds himself embattled due to a perfect storm of injury, ineffectiveness and cluelessness but the straw that broke the came's back was in no way related to his performance.

It came after a dreadful home loss to hapless Tampa Bay in Week 11.

That's when RG3 made the cardinal sin for any quarterback, telling the truth, He pointed out the obvious, that great quarterbacks "don't play well if their guys don't play well."

Some took that as Griffin throwing his teammates, some of whom already don't like him very much, under the bus. And while that criticism might have been a bit harsh, at the very least the third-year signal caller bumped his supporting cast toward the front bumper of that aforementioned bus.

Surly receiver DeSean Jackson, who always is complaining about something, went the passive-aggressive route on Instagram to describe Griffin.

"You can't do epic [expletive] with basic people," the speedster wrote.

Gruden didn't even bother making excuses for his star receiver.

"I don't know exactly what DeSean meant but I think he was frustrated a little bit with what came out about Robert," Gruden said.

Here's the thing about quarterbacks and anyone who has been around this game for more than a week understands it. Signal callers get more credit than they deserve when a team wins and they take more shrapnel than they should when things go off the rails.

Griffin certainly didn't have any problems when people were lauding him for the seven straight wins and the NFC East crown in his rookie season. In those halcyon days, the narrative was whether or not Andrew Luck was better than RG3 not about Alfred Morris, Trent Williams or Ryan Kerrigan.

Similarly with things now trending in a negative direction, no one is focusing in on the bit players and laying things at the feet of a struggling RG3. A leader, however, stands up and takes the heat while deflecting it away from others as best he can.

Griffin hasn't mastered that part of his job and it irks Gruden.

"First of all, Robert needs to understand he needs to worry about himself, number one, and not everybody else," Gruden said after the home loss to the Bucs."It's his job to worry about his position, his footwork, his fundamentals, his reads, his progressions, his job at the quarterback position. It's my job to worry about everybody else."

Gruden then took the rare step of pointing out the flaws of what was once supposed to be his franchise player.

"Robert had some fundamental flaws," Gruden said. "His footwork was below average. He took three-step drops when he should have taken five, he took one- step drops when he should have taken three -- on a couple of occasions. That can't happen. He stepped up when he didn't have to step up, and stepped into pressure. He read the wrong side of the field a couple of times. From his basic performance, just critiquing Robert, it was not even close to being good enough for what we expect from that quarterback position."

Coaches rarely put the 53rd player on their roster on blast, never mind the most high-profile one so that exemplifies just how far Griffin has fallen in Gruden's eyes.

Ex-coach Mike Shanahan came to the same conclusion last year but lost a power struggle to RG3 when it came to the ear of Daniel Snyder. For now Gruden seems to be winning his.

Snyder isn't as in your face as Jerry Jones but he's every bid of meddlesome and that's where the bigger issue lies.

"It's not an environment that's really conducive to winning for a sustained period of time, from top to bottom," retired Redskins linebacker London Fletcher admitted on CBS Sports Network. "You have to have a plan in place and say, 'You know what? This is what we're gonna do, this is a winning formula,' and then stick to the formula."

A feud between the owner's hand-picked QB and two different coaches in back- to-back seasons doesn't some across as and kind of a plan.

"I don't know if they know what they're doing, in terms of saying 'Hey, this is what we're gonna do to be a winning franchise for the next decade,'" Fletcher said. "I like Jay Gruden as a head coach. Maybe he can be that guy, but there needs to be some more changes that take place."

Welcome to change No. 1.

WEEK 13 (All Times Eastern)

Chicago (5-6) at Detroit (7-4) (-7), Thursday, 12:30 p.m. - Turkey and desperation will be on the menu Thursday in Detroit as the Lions host their annual Thanksgiving Day against Chicago, the first time since 1999 that the two NFC North rivals will meet on the holiday. A two-game road losing streak against the NFL's only two 9-2 teams -- Arizona and New England -- has dropped Detroit one game behind Green Bay for the division lead with five games to play. The Bears, meanwhile, despite winning two consecutive contests, are at 5-6 and have virtually no room for error is they plan on playing postseason football. Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson will be aiming for his sixth Thanksgiving game in a row with a touchdown catch.

Lions 27, Bears 21

Philadelphia (8-3) at Dallas (8-3) (-3), Thursday, 4:30 p.m. - First place in the NFC East is on the line as the Eagles and Cowboys meet on Thanksgiving for the first time since 1989. Both teams enter the game tied for the top spot in the division with 8-3 records. The Cowboys are 29-16-1 on Thanksgiving and have won six of their past eight on the holiday. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo has won six of seven Thanksgiving starts and has also won his past three starts against the Eagles. Philadelphia, meanwhile, has 10 return touchdowns this season scored by nine different players. That is already tied for the most players to score a return touchdown for a team in a season in NFL history.

Cowboys 35, Eagles 31

Seattle (7-4) at San Francisco (7-4) (-1), Thursday, 8:30 p.m. - The Thanksgiving action concludes with an important NFC West showdown between last year's NFC Championship Game participants. Both the Seahawks and 49ers are 7-4, two games behind Arizona in the division and right in the thick of the NFC playoff race and are Nos. 1 (Seattle) and 2 (San Fran) in defense. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has won three of his past four starts against the 49ers, including the NFC Championship Game, and he has won his past two Thursday games while posting a 116.6 passer rating. The Niners have won three in a row.

49ers 17, Seahawks 14

San Diego (7-4) at Baltimore (7-4) (-5 1/2), Sunday, 1 p.m. - Two teams in the middle of the competitive AFC playoff race will play Sunday in Baltimore. The Chargers improved to 7-4 with a 27-24 home win over St. Louis last week while the Ravens, behind the running of Justin Forsett, have won two in a row. Forsett has rushed for at least 100 yards and two touchdowns in each of the past two games, including 182 yards and two touchdowns in Baltimore's Week 12 win at New Orleans.

Ravens 27, Chargers 17

New Orleans (4-7) at Pittsburgh (7-4) (-4), Sunday, 1 p.m. - Someone has to win the NFC South but the Saints are doing everything possible to make sure it isn't them. New Orleans remains tied for the division lead despite finishing a three-game homestand winless for the third time in franchise history (1967, 1997). Pittsburgh is 7-4 and just a half-game behind division-leader Cincinnati (7-3-1) in the AFC North. The Steelers, who had a bye in Week 12, are coming off a come-from-behind 27-24 victory at Tennessee in Week 11 on "Monday Night Football."

Steelers 26, Saints 20

Cleveland (7-4) at Buffalo (6-5) (-2 1/2), Sunday, 1 p.m. - The Bills have their home again after spending a week away from Ralph Wilson Stadium due to nearly seven feet of snow in the area. Detroit proved to be quite the temporary home for the Bills as they waxed the New York Jets to stay in the AFC playoff hunt. The Browns, meanwhile, won a week ago, just like everyone else in the ultra-tough AFC North, where every team is at least three games over .500.

Bills 23, Browns 20

Tennessee (2-9) at Houston (5-6) (-6 1/2), Sunday, 1 p.m. - The latest battle of Houston is Sunday as the old Oilers return to South Texas to face off with the Texans. Tennessee is 15-10 all-time against the newer inhabitants of the city and is moving forward with rookie QB Zach Mettenberger, who set a rookie franchise record by throwing for 345 yards in a loss at Philadelphia last weekend. The Texans move back to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick after Ryan Mallett was felled by a pectoral injury.

Texans 24, Titans 17

Washington (3-8) at Indianapolis (7-4) (-9 1/2), Sunday, 1 p.m. - The mess that is the Redskins faces the AFC South leaders with Colt McCoy at the helm. Washington did win two consecutive games earlier this season with McCoy under center. McCoy replaced an ineffective Kirk Cousins in the second half of the Redskins' Week 7 matchup against Tennessee and rallied the team to a 19-17 decision. He then led the way in an overtime road upset of Dallas a week later. Colts QB Andrew Luck is third in the NFL with 29 TD passes and already has nine 300-yard passing games this season.

Colts 34, Redskins 17

New York Giants (3-8) (-2 1/2) at Jacksonville (1-10), Sunday, 1 p.m. - The only compelling thing here might be waiting for the next great OBJ catch. These two teams come in having lost 10 consecutive combined with the Giants dropping six straight and the dismal 1-10 Jags having lost four consecutive.

Giants 20, Jaguars 14

Carolina (3-7-1) at Minnesota (4-7) (-3), Sunday, 1 p.m. - Life isn't fair. At 3-7-1 Carolina is just one-half game out of first place in the dreadful NFC South while the Vikings are dead and buried in the North at 4-7. The fact that the game actually means something for the Panthers should be the difference here.

Panthers 21, Vikings 17

Oakland (1-10) at St. Louis (4-7) (-7), Sunday, 1 p.m. - The Raiders are fresh off halting their ugly 16-game skid dating back to last season while the Rams snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in San Diego last weekend when Shaun Hill threw a game-ending INT at the goal line in the waning moments. Neither team has much to play for so figure on talent winning out.

Rams 28, Raiders 17

Cincinnati (7-3-1) (-4) at Tampa Bay (2-9), Sunday, 1 p.m. - The Bengals are on top of the NFL"s toughest division but one slip up and they could be in last. Cincinnati is 7-3-1, just one-half game clear of Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Baltimore, who are all 7-4. The good news is that the Bengals are playing the 2-9 Bucs and Andy Dalton usually excels against NFC foes, going 5-0-1 in his last six out of conference with 15 TDs against just three picks in those games.

Bengals 30, Buccaneers 20

Arizona (9-2) (-2 1/2) at Atlanta (4-7), Sunday, 4:05 p.m. - The Falcons amazingly remain in control of their fate in the NFC South thanks to a 4-0 record in the division. Outside of it, however, Atlanta is 0-7 so it's hard to take Mike Smith's club seriously until they show something against a reputable foe. The 9-2 Cards will try to right the ship after a disappointing loss at Seattle and will rely on their stingy defense which hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 21 straight games.

Cardinals 17, Falcons 16

New England (9-2) at Green Bay (8-3) (-3), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. - Two of the NFL's hottest teams will meet on Sunday afternoon in a possible Super Bowl preview at Lambeau Field. New England has won seven games in a row, including last week's 34-9 victory over Detroit. With the win, the Patriots clinched the team's 14th consecutive winning season. the first to accomplish the feat since San Francisco did so in 16 seasons in a row from 1983-1998. During the team's current seven-game winning streak, quarterback Tom Brady has thrown 22 touchdowns and posted a 111.7 passer rating. The Packers are 5-0 at home this season, outscoring opponents 219-85 in those games and scoring at least 50 points in each of its past two homes games. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown 322 consecutive passes and 29 touchdowns in a row without an interception at home; both streaks are the longest in NFL history.

Packers 34, Patriots 24

Denver (8-3) (-1 1/2) at Kansas City (7-4), Sunday 8:30 p.m. - Sunday���s action concludes with an AFC West contest between the 8-3 Broncos and 7-4 Chiefs. Denver holds a one-game lead over Kansas City and San Diego entering Week 13. Last week, the Broncos scored 22 points in the fourth quarter to overcome an 11-point deficit and defeat Miami 39-36 as Peyton Manning threw four touchdown passes and became the third player in NFL history with a touchdown pass in 50 consecutive games. It also marked his 35th career game with at least four touchdown passes, the most in NFL history. The Chiefs have won four in a row at Arrowhead Stadium, outscoring opponents 123-51 in those games.

Chiefs 24, Broncos 23

Miami (6-5) (-5 1/2) at New York Jets (2-9), Monday, 8:30 p.m. - The floundering Jets will turn back to Geno Smith at quarterback. Smith, who started the first eight games this season, replaced Michael Vick under center during this past Monday's 38-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills, a setback that dropped the Jets to 2-9. The Dolphins are still in the AFC playoff hunt despite a late-game implosion in Denver during Week 12. Their QB, Ryan Tannehill, has taken off over the past eight games, completing 187-of-265 passes for 1,958 pass yards and 16 TDs for a 102.4 passer rating.

Dolphins 23, Jets 16