Thought the dysfunction among former Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, quarterback Robert Griffin III and team owner Dan Snyder was a topic of the past? Think again.
Shanahan was interviewed on D.C. radio station ESPN980’s ”The Sports Fix” show for more than an hour Wednesday, dishing mostly about Griffin and Snyder – and what the coach called both men’s desire for RG3 to become a dropback passer – but also about Donovan McNabb, Albert Haynesworth and other topics.
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In Shanahan’s telling, a disagreement over the direction the team’s offense would take – and whether Griffin was ready to be a classic pocket QB – led to the breakdown of their working relationship.
”I knew my time was short-lived with that type of mindset,” said Shanahan, who was fired after the 2013 season, with a year left on his contract.
Griffin was the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, but he tore up his knee in a playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. According to Shanahan, two days after that season’s Super Bowl, Griffin met with him and described ”what plays were acceptable and unacceptable.”
”That term `unacceptable’ is used by Dan, the owner, quite often, so I (had) a little bit of a smile when I heard some of these complaints. The bottom line is he wanted to throw more, run less. … He wanted to be more of a dropback, Aaron Rodgers-type guy,” said Shanahan, who coached the Denver Broncos to two Super Bowl titles in the 1990s with John Elway at QB.
”I went and talked to Dan. I said, `Hey, Dan … for a quarterback to come to me, a veteran coach, and share these things, No. 1, he can’t be the sharpest guy, to do something like that, or he’s got to … feel very good about the owner backing him up. And since you have been telling me from Day 1 he’s a dropback quarterback … this is an extension of you,”’ Shanahan continued. ”He said it wasn’t.”
Shanahan wound up benching Griffin at the end of the 2013 season. Griffin also lost his starting job last season under Shanahan’s successor as Washington’s head coach, Jay Gruden.
Shanahan spoke on the radio at about the same time Wednesday that Gruden was declaring at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis that Griffin will head into next season as the Redskins’ starting quarterback.
Griffin did not immediately respond to a request for reaction to Shanahan’s interview; a Redskins spokesman said Snyder wouldn’t comment.
Among other subjects touched on by Shanahan:
– After Griffin hurt his knee in the first half of the playoff game against the Seahawks: ”Both the doctor and Robert said he was perfectly fine.” Griffin stayed in until wrenching the knee again and needing offseason surgery.
– When Peyton Manning was a free agent before eventually joining the Broncos, ”We were talking to Peyton at that time. That was a strong consideration.”
– If the Redskins’ salary-cap penalties had been announced sooner, the team probably would not have made the trade to acquire Griffin.
– His evaluation of Griffin coming out of college as a Heisman Trophy winner: ”Loved his arm strength. He had velocity. He had spin on the ball. You could tell how competitive a guy he was.”
– The unprecedented trade with the St. Louis Rams that allowed Washington to draft Griffin with the No. 2 overall pick: ”I did not feel good about giving up two No. 1s and a No. 2.”
– The deal that brought McNabb over from NFC East rival Philadelphia: Team official Bruce Allen ”orchestrated the trade” and Snyder ”was the guy who really wanted Donovan the most.”