Washington Redskins: RG3 Can Learn from Cam Newton

Yahoo Contributor Network
COMMENTARY | Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and Carolina Panthers signal caller Cam Newton are two young players headed in opposite directions in 2013.

While RGIII is at the helm of a 3-7 franchise on the brink of missing the postseason, Newton has led his team to an impressive 7-3 record. Griffin experienced early success but has encountered struggles in his second season, whereas Newton overcame the adversities associated with his first two years by stepping up as a leader in 2013.

Here's what RGIII can learn from Newton as he attempts to overcome the tough times he's faced this season.

Understanding the concept of leadership

Recently, Griffin's leadership skills were called into question by Redskins' great Darrell Green. Throughout his first two years in the NFL, Newton's ability to lead a team has at times also been scrutinized.

Even though his teammates have come to his defense and upheld his leadership strengths, RGIII himself hasn't directly offered a critique of his skills as a leader.

Meanwhile, when Newton's abilities to lead were criticized, he agreed with the critics and took responsibility for his actions. Newton acknowledged that he was a bad teammate and had room to grow into the leader he's finally become in 2013.

RGIII had a remarkable rookie season and despite his struggles this year; he's still well-positioned to continue his development into one of the league's best quarterbacks. However, a little self-acknowledgement of his perceived weaknesses would be greatly appreciated.

Instead of his teammates doing the talking, I'd like to see Griffin come out and address the leadership matter publicly, like Cam did, instead of sweeping the situation under the rug as if there's no room for improvement and that he has everything all figured out.

Griffin needs a Steve Smith in the Redskins' locker room

Another important element of Newton's emergence into a leader was having a fellow teammate call him out and push him to become a better player. When Newton was going through his struggles, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith didn't pull any punches and openly criticized the young signal caller for his lack of leadership.

In contrast, let's take a look at how Griffin's teammates reacted to Green's assault on his leadership abilities. Several of RGIII's colleagues angrily dismissed Green's assertions, coming to his defense as a leader of the Redskins. Most prominently, London Fletcher came to Griffin's defense and discussed how difficult it was for any second-year player to emerge as a leader on a football team.

I would have loved to have witnessed one of Griffin's teammates pull a Steve Smith and bluntly assess RGIII's weaknesses in the leadership area. Look, we always hear about Griffin's strengths as a player, a person and personality. We know he's a smart guy and talented young football player because those are the images conveyed seemingly every time Griffin is discussed.

It would have been a breath of fresh air to hear someone who's aligned closely to the quarterback come out and question an area where RGIII is in need of improvement. As talented as he is, Griffin is still susceptible to flaw and it would serve as a great change of pace for someone who goes to battle with him every Sunday to publicly point that out, as Smith did to Newton.

Therefore, in order for RGIII to emerge from the doldrums of losing and become a better leader, he'd be wise to take a page or two from the Cam Newton playbook. The sooner he does that, the quicker he'll be able to get back on the right path to becoming not only a true franchise quarterback, but an unquestioned team commander as well.

Read More From This Contributor:

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Drexel Perry's a freelance writer who covers the Washington Redskins and the Washington Wizards for Yahoo Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @DrexelPerry.

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