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Friendship Didn't Influence Trade that Landed RGIII

The Rams and Redskins meet months after that blockbluster trade

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Robert Griffin III

    In March, shortly after the Redskins made the blockbuster trade with the Rams for the right to take quarterback Robert Griffin III second overall in April's NFL Draft, Browns' president Mike Holmgren, who was also in the market for a franchise quarterback, said that Cleveland was never seriously in the running for St. Louis' pick.

    “Honestly, when it didn’t happen I think there are reasons that I can’t go into right now, but there is a very close relationship between the people getting the deal done and the people who offered," Holmgren said at the time. "And I’m not sure anything we offered would have been good enough. We were very, very aggressive and it didn’t work.”

    No, no it did not.

    The Redskins ended up with RGIII, of course, and the Browns settled on Brandon Weeden, the 28-year-old former baseball player they took late in the first round and installed as the starter this summer.

    Griffin threw for 326 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs in his debut and won offensive player of the week honors (the first rookie quarterback to ever do so). Weeden, on the other hand, completed 34 percent of his passes and had a 5.1 passer rating (incidentally, this is barely higher than his 5.01 ERA during five years in the minor leagues).

    Next up: The Redskins travel to St. Louis to face the team that made all their quarterbackin' dreams come true. New Rams coach Jeff Fisher was asked Wednesday about how the two organizations worked out the trade from last spring and his account is predictably different than Holmgren's.

    “It didn’t have anything to do with (my relationship with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan),” Fisher said (via the Washington Post). “There’s a personal side to a relationship and there’s a business side and this was a business deal that we thought was in the best interest of both clubs.”

    So that settles that.

    Meanwhile, Fisher, like the rest of the football-watching world, was blown away with RGIII's performance against the Saints.

    “What a terrific debut," he said. "Very, very impressive. As people are saying, it’s historical. He did a great job with accuracy and poise, made plays with his legs and has a good grasp of the offense. There were a lot of things obviously offensively that have been worked on in the offseason and the preseason that weren’t shown in the preseason games. It became very productive and effective for him.”

    And despite appearance, Shanahan didn't pare down the game plan and feature quick, easy throws to make things easier on Griffin. Instead, the coaches played to RGIII's strengths and took a page from the Baylor playbook. Grantland's Chris Brown explains in a fantastic post:

    Shanahan has clearly gone into this year with an open mind — something many otherwise excellent pro coaches don't do often enough — and he’s blended his tried-and-true West Coast/zone-blocking offense with some of the best and simplest principles Griffin executed so well at Baylor.

    The Rams aren't nearly as explosive as the Saints but they do have a much better secondary. Which means that RGIII will be tested. If Week 1 is any indication, he'll be up to the challenge.