Report: Shanahan, Griffin tensions date back to January

Getty Images

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.

63 responses to “Report: Shanahan, Griffin tensions date back to January

  1. Taking Cousins was the best thing Shanahan has done for the Redskins to date…

  2. Is RGIII just another spoiled millennial? What the heck is daddy doing in the picture? My boss doesn’t always treat me right either but I sure as heck don’t let daddy and mommy fight my battles.

    Sheesh. Man up dude and grow a pair.

  3. Drama Queen in DC. Not only do you have to deal with RG3-9 but his dad also. Good luck moving forward Redskins fans. If the Skins do fire Shanahan I wonder if RGII will be part of the hiring process.

    17 out of 21 years eliminated from the playoffs the first week of December. That will only continue under Snyder and RG3-9.

  4. I am surprised that Shanahan still has a job. Even the most casual football fan understood that Griffin was put in harms way in the playoff game last year. He is not the same player now as he was before the injuries and the Redskins franchise should do everything it can for the long term in helping Griffin fully recover. I hope this promising career wasn’t killed by a selfish coach.

  5. It was clear that he was hobbled during that game and he should have been pulled. It was also clear that RG3 was actively avoiding the trainers on the sideline. RG3’s ego is why he kept playing. That and fear of Cousins doing well. RG3 is basically saying “how dare you let me hurt myself” Griffin has to be “the man” and that is where the animosity is coming from. The QB needs to be a team player and contrary to fanboy opinions he simply is not a team guy.

  6. Griffin always seems to want things both ways. He takes responsibility in such a way that one is left with the impression that he is trying to avoid responsibility. He wants to play but if he gets hurt, it’s the coach’s fault. Unfortunately for him, the buildup he got in DC was so great that he is expected and expects to be a superman QB. Every QB has good days and bad days. The ratio determines whether he is bad, good, or great. Drew Brees just had a bad game. Because of the many great games he has had, no one is suggesting that he is finished or has “lost a step”.

  7. The RGme trade, will be the biggest news of the offseason. There’s no repairing this. Even if Shanahan is fired. RG3-9 looks to be done in Washington.

  8. Uh oh… Sounds like all the peace, harmony, and chemistry in Washington is about to go right out the window. Between this soap opera, the team name, the cap punishment and their meglomaniacal Napoleanic owner has there ever been a more dysfunctional franchise in sports?

  9. Nobody wants to have their job taken while injured but if Cousins did end up taking the place of RG3 there is no doubt that he would get a second shot at some point. Instead RG3 is going to take his job from himself.

  10. RGIII has no comment. RGII is in a locker room somewhere. RGI is rolling in his grave. My sources are anonymous.

  11. …or we’re gonna end up with an OK Corral style ending here. The Hatfield and McCoys will be replaced by the Shannahan’s and Griffin’s.

  12. So the QB lies and tells the coach he is not hurt (while caught on NFL Film cameras telling Trent Williams that he really is hurt and to not tell anyone). So they call plays like he is not hurt and he is mad. What a diva!

  13. Shanahan is old, immensely stubborn and has a big ego. RGIII is a young, sheltered, and full of entitlement with an ego.

    SHOCKER that they don’t get along.

  14. I’ll add my speculation to some of those questions.

    “If Cousins had continued to play well down the stretch last season and into the playoffs, who knows what would have happened in 2013?”

    Nothing different, if you ask me. The team still would have only 1 decent WR and all the other holes they have. They’d still have the inept coaching staff. What we now know about Bob Griffin is that he’s an extremely insecure kid who obsesses over what other people think of him (“don’t show my negatve plays in front of the whole team”), which obviously fueled the motivation for trying to come back so quickly.

    “…especially if Cousins had been allowed to play in September while Griffin continued to mend?

    If you allow that the ACL tear occurred in December rather than January, and was diagnosed immediately, Bob would have been 1 month further along in recovering in September – perhaps even further along, as he wouldn’t have had another month’s worth of games on a torn knee to recover from. Given how many other issues the team has, they’d probably still be under .500.

    This team needs new coaching. I read it somewhere recently that “each year, it becomes more evident that Mike Shannahan was the guy who just happened to be standing on the sideline when John Elway reached his potential, and otherwise is a mediocre coach.

  15. Isn’t RG3 a grown man???

    Why is daddy in the locker room… and criticizing and NFL head coach?

    If I’m Shanny…. I’d say “I will continue to do what is best for the team and to help the Redskins win football games.” No explanation, nor apology forthcoming.

    Suck it up and play or don’t play, but shut up.

  16. Wow! If ANY of this is true it’s time to trade Vince Young- er I mean RG 3-9 and get everything you can for him. Send him somewhere like TB or Oak or Jax.

  17. Griffin is the one who should shoulder ALL of the blame for the knee issues. The only person that knows how a knee feels is the person who’s knee it is. For Griffin and his daddy to not take full responsibility for the injury is a plain and simple lack of accountability. Blaming Shanahan is the coward way to go about a situation that Robert should have handled properly. In the audio from the game (until it was taken down) Robert is taped telling his LT Trent Williams that his knee was injured and for Williams to not inform the coaching staff. Now what kind of situation are you putting your team in by not informing your coach and medical staff, but telling your left tackle? This guy is a class A me first player who is only concerned about his obligations with Adidas and Subway instead of the Washington Redskins. If Robert showed any sort of accountability in this whole mess it would be a non issue. Robert could have put this to bed months ago. Instead he produces a documentary on how “hard” he is working, and lays blame at other’s feet. Is this the kind of leader I would follow? No. Take accountability for your actions son. Shut down your twitter, Facebook, and any other form of social media you use to promote your inspirational crap. Show your teammates how to lead by example, and take responsibility when you have the chance. Be a man, and stop hiding behind your daddy and his blame game. It pains me to say it because he is a great athlete but if he continues on his path of blaming everyone else I would like to see him on a plane back to Texas. Go play for another team cause your not wanted here son. You don’t deserve to wear the burgundy and gold.

  18. Al Davis was right all along just like he was right about the cry baby Lane Kiffin.
    The media was all about attacking Al Davis and The Raiders…
    Al said Mike was not a very nice person and players hated him.. Turns out he was right, Al said Lane has no loyalty and was a rat and was very shady.. Turned out he was right.. But when Al fired these guys the media cried “oh Al’s crazy”!
    The media still won’t admit it though

  19. While I wouldn’t have taken RG 3-9 that high in the draft, I did always think he was a fine young man. He seemed to handle criticism well, and of course was very talented. My concerns *were* limited to his Superman mentality and his long term durability.

    That’s now changed. Over the past 12 months he’s come across as a “me first” player and a whiner. The fact that his Dad is involved brings back Momma McNabb moments. And the concerns about his durability obviously remain. He already is figuring out that he can’t be Superman, and it’s not a realization that’s coming easily to him.

    As for Shanahan, I dislike him more and more. All head coaches deceive the media and fans to a degree, but to me, he’s a flat-out dishonest person. As much as it pains me to say it, I actually can see McChoke’s points on Shanahan. He seems like he’s handling RG 3-9 the same way. Another Washington Professional Football Team embarrassment!

  20. Wow…I had never voiced this to anyone but I always found it a bit weird that Washington continued then and continues now to run read option plays with RG3. They’re putting his future at risk. It’s almost like it is intentional.

    Watching RG3 play now, it appears as though he hates the read option play and is doing everything in his power to run it ineffectively to get it scratched from the playbook.

    If this report is true, everything is starting to makes sense now. It is clear all is not well in Redskins land.


  21. It makes me wonder why Shannahan deserves any of the blame for Griffin’s knee issues. As a grown man, Griffin can tell the coach if he will, or will not play. Any reason to the contrary has everything to do with Griffin’s pride, desire etc to win games and look good. Having ill will and tension towards your coach is immature and takes the easy way out of a situation that Griffin should have handled better.

    Now, Shannahan is obviously all about winning. He would probably have left Griffin in there if he had one leg as long as he told him he could play, which he probably did.

    Griffin is starting to remind me of another QB who used passive aggressive attacks his whole career, along with the victim mentality.
    Donovan McNabb.

  22. I find it comical Shanahan gets all the blame for RG3-9. The Shanahan’s made him the rookie of the year last year. They basically had to scrap the offense they have run in the past (an offense that Jake Plummer was successful in) in order just to get RGME on the field. They took a college style offense (read option) and won games with it. RGME wasn’t ready to run a “pro-style” offense so they made it simple for him.

    I understand he busted up his knee in the Baltimore game but RGME wanted to come back in and play. Philip Rivers played the AFC title game with a torn ACL. Don’t point the finger directly at the coach. Shanahan and his staff are working with what the owner has provided them which is basically a DIVA QB that can’t play from the pocket so they have to make up “gimmick” plays for him to be successful.

    As a Giants fan, I hope they do fire Shanahan, what coaching canadite out there is going to want to deal with RGME, his dad and on top of that have to build a offense around a QB that is struggling to develop a pro game.

    RGME=Coach Killer (Mike Vick 2.0). Yeah he can make the highlight plays but will never be able to consistently play the QB position. You can point to his stats all you want but anyone that watches the Skins knows his numbers are inflated by racking up numbers after the game as been decided. On top of that I don’t think RGME has completed one pass that has traveled more they 10 yards from the line. Dink and dunk!

  23. Shanahan ruined RG3s career in that game. Everyone could see that RG3 was having difficulties after the 1st quarter. He should have put Cousins in.

    Regardless if RG3 wanted to go back in, it was clear he was ineffective and should have been pulled. Shanahan is the coach and he makes the decisions, not the QB.

  24. IMO, both of these guys (RGIII and Shan) are at fault to the events that happened late last season and playoffs.

    RGIII should of let the Dr. look at his knee instead of running back onto the field.

    Shanny should of grew a pair and pulled the young QB off the field.

  25. There seems to be plenty of blame to go around.

    1. Most young players want to be out there playing. If Griffin knew he was hurt, he should have put his pride in his pocket and been more forth coming. He had an injury history, so he knew the symptoms.
    2. The coach has got to know something is wrong with his QB when the majority of the stadium and the viewing audience can tell that something is wrong with his QB.
    3. Does the Washington franchise not employ a team doctor? Is the guy so incompetent that he can’t identify when a knee is stable and when it’s not?
    4. How can an owner spend millions on a stadium and still have a substandard playing surface? It’s probably more important to the long term success of the franchise to pay more attention to field condition than video board size.

  26. Shanahan would sell his mother to win another game, and everybody he knows for a championship. He is a ruthless, low life scum bag, who has almost zero compassion. Other teams like the Vikings, held their new QB draftee out of the playoffs last years,, because of long term health concerns, but not this low life, who threw RGIII under the bus. I can not understand how the deadskins medical staff cleared him to play?

    Shanahan and Snyder deserve each other!!!

  27. So RG thinks that Shanahan should’ve know that RG wasn’t OK despite the fact that RG was telling Shanny he was fine and wouldn’t even let the trainers look at him? Does he think Shanny has ESP and/or a google glass MRI machine (patent pending)?

    Seriously, this is so amateurish. This is something that an insecure girlfriend would do – or like when a guy wants to look like a tough guy but not actually fight so he tells his friend to “hold him back”. I guess the circus is still in town…

  28. RGFragileEgo takes zero responsibility for his own failures and bad decisions from what I can see.

    Horrendous trade and the lack of high draft picks combined with the cap penalties for cheating and RGFragile Ego’s poor performance will leave this franchise ineffective for years to come.

    Not that it wouldn’t have been a bad team anyway with the Shannys coaching and leading the way.

  29. Lets Griffin play at the demands of Griffin and he takes heat. If he would have sidelined Griffin and played Cousins, he would have taken heat for that as well. Griffin is playing the blame game.

    Shanahan can’t win in this debate. He is a good coach who has won 2 Super Bowls. The Redskins job was one he should have passed on. That Organization is a complete mess and will continue to be a mess until Snyder sells the team. It is kind of like the Couwboys situation where the owner hires people to run the team, then the owner thinks they know more about football that a professional NFL manager because the owner watched football games for years.

    If I were Shanahan, I’d quit.

  30. @ skinsfolife

    That was the most sensible thing I’ve heard from a skins fan regarding this whole circus. You’re absolutely right on with your assessment.

  31. I’ve said this before, and I know most of us feel this way, but for heaven’s sake with these guys. RG111 is turning into an RGbum. He does not look like a pro passer, and he will get killed if he keeps running. Tiring of both these clowns….and shanahan should just go. unreal he has his son as OC

    Any chance the Jets get Kirk Cousins?…he looked like a pro last year

  32. wisconsinhillfolk says:
    Dec 4, 2013 11:30 AM

    So… if the kid doesn’t go back in, he’s a wuss. If he does go back in, he’s an egomaniac. Does this apply to all quarterbacks or just this guy?


    I see your point but that is where he should have applied his “intelligence” and “smarts,” as a lot of skins fans claim he has.

    If you’re injured, and I do get the whole warrior mentality, to the point where you can barely stand let alone run, insisting on continuing the game for the sake of showing your so-called competetiveness is downright stupid. He can’t go and blame someone else as it was his knee and his final decision to stay in the game or not. Yeah people would’ve questioned his decision and may have called him out (I believe that happened to Cutler with the Bears), but those same people would’ve eaten their words after discovering that he really was injured.

    I get what your saying but it’s as immature a statement as griffin’s handling of himself.

  33. Despite the down year, you have a QB who could very possibly be a Top 10 QB for the next 12 years. It would be a wise move to try a new coach.

  34. so a grown man cant walk to the sideline and say im done before irreprable damage is done. but he can blame someone elee for his lack of decision making.

    and please leave that he couldnt pull himself because of what people would say bull#h!t at the door. if that is tbe case he deserves what he got for being an insecure child and allowing other people that have no bearing on the situation to influence what ultimitaly has become an important life decision

  35. It doesn’t matter how he got hurt, who’s fault was it when brady , manning, brees, or rogers got hurt. What a stupid double standard we have NEWS FLASH: FOOTBALL PLAYERS FET HURT! Shanahan is the main reason why there is any excitement about this team, he finds Alfred morris from nowhere, went 10-6 with a rookie QB and an awful defense. I don’t understand why nobody is talking about the 36 million dollar cap penalty the skins have for violating the cap limit in an uncapped year…collusion much? The skins are forced to play with sub par players and no depth because of this cap penalty. Next year with no penalty you can all judge shanahan, but not now. He inherited Zorn’s team, which had zero talent, and an unjustified cap penalty. People like to kick a man when he is down, none of you have any right to blame this season on shanahan.

  36. “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.”

    Oh? People think otherwise? Shame on them.

  37. The RGIII hate here is surprisingly intense. I can’t believe some people are criticizing him because he wanted to play through his injury. I have no doubt that if he went to Shanahan and said he couldn’t play because of his injury, the same people who are criticizing him for playing would be criticizing him for being too soft.

  38. the fact that anyone even listens to what his dad says is comical. Shanahan has won 2 SB’s as a coach and 1 in SF as an offensive coordinator. I think he knows a little more than his peanut brained father.

  39. tmarlin1221 says: Dec 4, 2013 3:19 PM

    the fact that anyone even listens to what his dad says is comical. Shanahan has won 2 SB’s as a coach and 1 in SF as an offensive coordinator. I think he knows a little more than his peanut brained father.

    *Shanahan has ridden the coattails of all-world players to two 2 SB’s as a coach and 1 in SF as an offensive coordinator and has proven to be a marginal coach ever since.

    — Fixed.

  40. We should all listen to Mike Wise because it’s not like the Post suspended him for lying in an article or anything. I’m surprised he still has a job.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.