Redskins GM: No QB controversy
Bruce Allen knows well the history of Washington Redskins quarterback controversies. Sonny Jurgensen vs. Billy Kilmer in the `70s. Doug Williams vs. Jay Schroeder in the `80s. Heath Shuler vs. Gus Frerotte in `90s.
In 2013, the popular take-sides issue isn’t QB vs. QB. It’s QB vs. coach. Robert Griffin III vs. Mike Shanahan. And Allen doesn’t see this one going anywhere.
"I don’t see a controversy at all," Allen said Friday. "I know somehow Billy and Sonny are laughing that we created a quarterback controversy with Robert Griffin. But we have a very competitive player who’s dying to play football and we have a very experienced coach who’s doing the right thing."
Training camp came to an end for the Redskins on Friday, and from beginning to end it was dominated by Griffin’s return from major knee surgery. The enormously popular quarterback and reigning NFL offensive rookie of the year moved well despite the brace on his right knee, whether he was rolling right on a bootleg or sprinting 100-plus yards along the rope barriers to slap hands with fans after practice.
It was a remarkable sight, considering that his surgery was seven month ago for an injury that often takes more than a year to completely heal. Still, he felt he should have been doing more than he was allowed under Shanahan’s practice plan and wasn’t shy about saying it publicly. On Monday, Griffin escalated the saga by saying he didn’t like the plan and didn’t fully understand it. The backlash was such that he made a special statement the next day to announce there was "no conflict" between him and the coach.
On Wednesday, Griffin took his first 11-on-11 snaps of camp, albeit against a scout team defense. He had a similar role Thursday and Friday. On Friday, he had 12 snaps and completed 6 of 8 passes.
Shanahan has vetoed Griffin’s desire to play in a preseason game, preferring instead to focus on the Week 1 regular season opener Sept. 9.
"He’s doing well right now. He is ahead of schedule. … We’ve had no setbacks so far," said Allen, knocking his fist superstitiously three times on the wooden podium. "And the goal is for him to play in Week 1. Don’t know if it’ll happen."
Other highlights from Allen’s state-of-camp news conference:
— Allen made it sound as if a contract extension for Shanahan isn’t imminent. Shanahan is entering the fourth year of a five-year deal. His future could hinge on whether his relationship with Griffin turns into a full-blown rift.
"This isn’t the time that we’d be talking about the head coach or any of that stuff," Allen said. "Mike is really focused on this season."
— Allen said the Redskins are still feeling the ramifications of a $36 million salary cap penalty imposed by the NFL in 2012 and 2013. He said the team will probably have to renegotiate some contracts to stay under the cap when the final cuts are made, and that the penalty will also have an effect on negotiations to sign two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo to an extension.
"That salary penalty will hurt us for a number of years," Allen said. "It’s not just those two years, because of the repercussions of it down the road."
— Allen hailed the Redskins’ first year of camp in Richmond as a success. He said "well over 150,000" fans attended, surpassing the team’s goal of 100,000. The larger-than-expected crowds created some logistical issues, especially when about 100 people were treated for heat-related problems on Fan Appreciation Day.
"We’ll prepare for that better" next year, Allen said.
Allen and team owner Dan Snyder regularly walked to practice from the team hotel, covering several miles each day and greeting fans along the way. He said the two came across quite a few parties at various restaurants as during their trundle on Thursday night.
"We didn’t do any karaoke," Allen said, "that I remember."
Notes: Orakpo sat out practice with a bruised quad muscle after getting kneed in the right thigh on Thursday. "Once it calms down, we’ll see where we’re at," Orakpo said. Shanahan said he doesn’t think the injury is serious and that Orakpo could play Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. … WR Donte Stallworth (hamstring) won’t play Monday.