In nearly 24 hours since a report emerged that Redskins coach Mike Shanahan packed up his office and nearly quit in January 2013 before a playoff game, Shanahan has spoken about the situation (even if he really didn’t say much). Robert Griffin III has spoken about the situation (even if he really didn’t say anything).
Owner Daniel Snyder has said nothing. Neither has G.M. Bruce Allen, whose title and circumstances of hiring in early 2010 suggest he is Shanahan’s boss (even if Allen really isn’t).
One day removed from the eruption, the silence becomes deafening. How can Snyder and Allen not react to Shanahan apparently leaking the report, knowing it would hit only hours before a game and then not denying it (and in fact sort of confirming it) during a post-game press conference in which Shanahan made it clear he has every intention of being the head coach through the rest of the current season?
There’s a chance that the team’s power structure has opted to fight off-the-record fire with off-the-record fire, getting their point across without attaching their names to it. Citing unnamed sources, the Washington Post reports that management is “angry” about the report.
“Some Redskins officials questioned the timing and motivation behind those sentiments becoming public, the people with knowledge of the situation said, with some suggesting Shanahan — or someone close to him — was behind the story,” Mark Maske of the Post wrote. “The Redskins officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said a parting of the ways between the team and Shanahan was increasingly likely.”
So why not do it now? The Redskins just finished a disastrous three-game home stand, capped by a 45-10 loss to the Chiefs before the smallest crowd for any non-preseason game since FedEx Field opened in 1997.
It could be that the notoriously litigious Snyder has decided to huddle with his battalion of lawyers and formulate a plan before proceeding. And that plan could include stiffing Shanahan, like the late Al Davis once did.
The organizational dysfunction has been lingering for months. It’s quite possible that enough stuff has happened behind the scenes to give Snyder enough ammunition to make a straight-faced argument that Shanahan shouldn’t get his $7 million salary for 2014.
With Shanahan’s fingerprints firmly affixed to Sunday’s report and with the eventual decision being made by Commissioner Roger Goodell, it would hardly be the most frivolous legal claim Snyder has ever made. Regardless, Snyder needs to say or do something, at some point soon.
Shanahan has made look Snyder look bad, and with each passing hour of silence Snyder is looking worse.