"I'm not going to try to turn RGIII into Andy Dalton or Drew Brees. He isn't them. They're not him. I would be foolish to try to turn RGIII into a pocket passer. It would be foolish. The way he is as a runner, we have to take advantage of that. He strikes fear into defensive coordinators when he runs outside. I'm going to let him be himself."
The question is whether it's smart to let Griffin "be himself." Through two seasons, the quarterback has been unable to protect himself from unnecessary punishment (It's a mild miracle Griffin made it through 13 games this season before being shut down.).
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the officiating crew for the NFC title game -- along with both the Seahawks and 49ers -- were shipped videos this week of that Niners-Panthers first half. The footage was sent to show examples of what will and will not be tolerated in Seattle.
Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, is asking officials to set the tone early and prevent the game from swinging out of control. That's a message the league's refs have heard all season long.
Seemingly one less team (with two first round picks) to worry about taking top WR talent.
Despite those ill results, general manager Les Snead doesn't believe the Rams need to hunt for a proven No. 1 receiver.
"I go back to this and the answer is really 'no' on that," Snead said last week, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. "I think our receivers right now, I truly believe as they progress and the oldest guy just finished his third year, we cannot have another receiver around here and we're going to be a good football team."
Snead's message is clear: He isn't in the mood to burn another high pick when so much young potential -- albeit entirely unproven -- already sits on the roster.
I cannot help but feel that our guys were deprived of a fair chance in this games by the refs, but here is yet another Gem from David Newton:
Smith set the tone. He predicted after a Week 1 loss to Seattle, which will host San Francisco next weekend in the NFC title game, that the Panthers would face the Seahawks again deep in the playoffs.
Asked if he was disappointed that won't happen, Smith said, "Heartbroken. Not disappointed. Heartbroken."
That was the feeling throughout the locker room. Defensive end Greg Hardy, who was held without a sack after collecting seven in his previous two games, was so upset that he left without talking to reporters.
Safety Mike Mitchell was teary-eyed as he talked about wanting to return next season.
"I haven't played on a team with this type of coaches, these type of teammates, probably since I was a 17-year-old boy," said Mitchell, who signed a one-year deal before this season. "I had a great group of guys and I want to finish this."
Mitchell also felt the 49ers were lucky to escape with the win, pointing to calls that went against the Panthers. He mentioned the unsportsmanlike penalty on him and a pass interference call that set up San Francisco's first touchdown with five seconds left in the first half.
He reminded of calls that weren't made. He mentioned San Francisco having 12 players on the field the play before the 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Vernon Davis, and a head-butt by Anquan Boldin that Mitchell felt was no different than an infraction Munnerlyn was penalized for earlier.
"I can't wait to play them [again] with a new set of refs in a new game," Mitchell said of the 49ers. "We can beat that team. We can beat any team in this league. It just didn't happen for us today."
It didn't happen because the Panthers sacked quarterback Colin Kaepernick only once after getting to him six times in the first meeting. It didn't happen because Newton was sacked five times and intercepted twice.
It didn't happen because the team that has made seizing the moment its mantra couldn't seize opportunities in the red zone.
"Absolutely," Newton said. "It goes back to this is a terrible ending to a great season."