Most NFL coaches’ press conferences are relatively dull affairs, with coaches keeping things close to the vest, trying to avoid making waves, and wrapping things up as quickly as possible.
And then there’s Mike Shanahan’s press conference in Washington today.
Shanahan went off on a wide variety of topics, focused almost exclusively on the odd relationship triangle among himself, team owner Dan Snyder and quarterback Robert Griffin III. Shanahan attempted to portray himself as a coach who simply cares about the health of Griffin and the health of the franchise, and he insisted that he likes coaching the team and has nothing against Snyder. And Shanahan said the decision to bench Griffin for the rest of the season was done only in consultation with Snyder.
Toward the end of the lengthy press conference, Shanahan said, “I’ve talked more right now than I have in the last six months.” Here’s some of what Shanahan said:
On whether he second-guesses any previous decisions about playing Griffin on a bad knee: “You can always go back and always question yourself,” Shanahan said. “The doctors said he was 100 percent. So you go with the doctors, who felt — and Robert felt — he was 100 percent.”
On his relationship with Griffin: “My job is not always to be somebody’s friend. My job is to coach him. My job is to get the best out of somebody. I’m not looking to Robert to be liked. I hope that the respect level is there, and that he does like me.”
On regretting his decision not to pull Griffin from last season’s playoff loss to the Seahawks: “I should have went with my gut. But I thought he earned the right to play because he convinced me he was OK. But I think, you’re talking about honestly right here, it cost us the game.”
On consulting with Snyder about shutting Griffin down: “I talked to Dan Snyder about a week ago, talked to him about the amount of hits Robert has had. Any time you’ve been hit as many times as he’s been hit, I thought it was in his best interests, and the organization, to talk about whether we should continue playing Robert if he’s been hit as much as he’s been hit.”
On why Griffin needs to be healthy heading into this offseason: “If he missed two offseasons in a row, that would be the hardest thing . . . that would be devastating to him.”
On why the franchise quarterback is the only player he consults with Snyder about: “Dan could care less about the other positions.”
On whether he’ll coach the team next year: “I can’t say that. I don’t know until I sit down with Dan. I’ll give him my opinions and he’ll give me opinions.”
On wanting to return next year: “You always want to finish something you started. Always want to.”
On who will make the decision about whether he coaches in 2014: “That’s Dan’s decision at the end of this year. My job is to do the right thing for the organization.”
On Griffin disagreeing with the decision to shut him down: “I would be disappointed if Robert did not want to be in there with his teammates. I would be the most disappointed guy. I’d be the most disappointed guy in myself if he played the last three weeks and he had an ACL or LCL and it sent him off for his second year in a row without an offseason.”
On Shanahan’s dealings today with the media, compared to the way he normally treats the press: “What I’m trying to do is be as honest as I can, and I don’t normally do that.”