Not many things chafe coaches more than fans who see a play that doesn’t work and then howl about the play-calling.
More irritating is when such after-the-fact criticism comes from people who should know better. Fox play-by-play man Sam Rosen and color guy John Lynch showed why Sunday during the Falcons-Redskins telecast.
They piled on with bar-stool takes after Jacquizz Rogers carried for a short gain on third-and-three at Washington’s 45 with Atlanta trailing 10-7 in the third quarter.
“Now that’s a strange call,” Rosen said, using announcer-speak for “bad” even though running the ball when in need of three yards is not unreasonable and Atlanta’s passing game had been spotty.
“And [the Falcons] are behind,” Lynch chimed in, even though a field-goal deficit with three minutes left in the third quarter is no time for desperation . “I don’t like the call. It’s easy to say after they don’t convert.”
It wasn’t so easy for Lynch to say once the Falcons began to wear out the Redskins by running the ball. It was so difficult, in fact, that Lynch later praised Atlanta’s running game while pretending he hadn’t earlier slammed the Falcons for running the ball in a short-yardage situation.
“The Falcons are saying, ‘OK if you are going to double our wide receivers, we are going to run on you,’” Lynch said.
The misfires for Lynch went beyond second-guessing play calls. He also called on Redskins coach Mike Shanahan to “take the gloves off” in regards to quarterback Robert Griffin III.
“You have got to let this young guy go because he is dynamic when they do,” Lynch said.
Lynch thought Shanahan was trying to help Griffin stay comfortable. Actually, after Griffin absorbed big hits in previous weeks, Shanahan was trying to keep his franchise quarterback in one piece.
Consider what happened when Shanahan took the gloves off and put Griffin in a shotgun spread formation on third-and-goal. Griffin promptly took off running from pressure and Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon knocked him out of the game with a concussion.
Memo to Lynch: Griffin can’t be dynamic when he’s on the injured list.