Recently, every press conference conducted by Washington coach Mike Shanahan or quarterback Robert Griffin III has occurred amid a report or a statement or something that requires explanation or denial.
Wednesday will be no different.
Mike Wise of the Washington Post recently reported that the tensions between Shanahan and Griffin date back to January, when Shanahan failed to remove Griffin from a playoff game in which the then-rookie was clearly hobbled by a knee that eventually imploded.
Per Wise, Griffin’s family “originally rebuffed” efforts by Shanahan to reach out to Griffin and to explain the decision to let Griffin keep playing. In support of the report, Wise cites “people on both sides with knowledge of last January’s events who spoke on condition of anonymity in interviews over the past three weeks.”
Griffin’s father, Robert Griffin, Jr., reportedly thought that Shanahan should focus more on coaching the team than “building a stronger bond with [Griffin’s] son.”
Speaking of sons, Wise reports that RGII was frustrated not because RGIII was permitted to keep playing, but because offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan continued to call plays that put Griffin at further risk of injury after he suffered the initial knee injury against the Ravens on December 9.
Those concerns become more understandable if, as some believe, the ACL tear actually happened when Griffin’s knee violently snapped upon colliding with Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, and that Griffin tried to pull a Dennis Dixon, playing with the unstable knee until the unstable knee lost all stability.
That’s may not be as far fetched as it sounds, especially in light of recent suggestions that Griffin rushed back in part to prevent Kirk Cousins from potentially taking over the quarterback job. If Cousins had continued to play well down the stretch last season (he led the Redskins to a late win over Baltimore and a 38-21 victory at Cleveland) and into the playoffs, who knows what would have happened in 2013 — especially if Cousins had been allowed to play in September while Griffin continued to mend?
So maybe the seeds for the tension were planted not on a green dirt field where nothing would have grown in January but at Radio City Music Hall the preceding April, when Shanahan decided to take a flier on a fourth-round quarterback to back up Griffin.