Former Washington coach Mike Shanahan says quarterback Robert Griffin III and owner Daniel Snyder conspired on a plan to change the team’s offense after Griffin’s rookie year, with Griffin then sitting Shanahan down and informing him that he would no longer run many of the plays that Shanahan had called.
According to TheUndefeated.com, Griffin called a meeting with Shanahan, his son and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur in February of 2013 and told them to let him speak without interruption. He then informed them that there were 19 plays in Washington’s offense that he would no longer run because he believed he needed to be treated like a pocket passer and not a running quarterback.
Shanahan said he could tell by the way Griffin was talking that he had previously gone over the issue with Snyder.
“When Robert is standing there going through all of that, I know it’s coming from Dan,” Shanahan said. “When Robert talked about ‘unacceptable,’ that was a word Dan used all the time. He was using phrases Dan used all the time. There’s only one way a guy who’s going into his second year would do something like this: If he sat down with the owner and the owner believed that this is the way he should be used. He had to have the full support of the owner and, in my opinion, the general manager to even have a conversation like that. He just had the best year for a rookie QB in the history of the game. You got selected to the Pro Bowl. We went to the playoffs.”
Griffin was concerned about his own health, coming off a season that ended with a serious knee injury in the playoffs. But Shanahan says he was concerned about Griffin’s health, too, and was baffled at Griffin’s approach.
“We tried to get him to slide,” Shanahan said. “We tried to get him to throw the ball away. If he had told me he was hurt, I would have taken him out of the [playoff] game. To hear him . . . it was really incredible.”
Shanahan says he immediately confronted Snyder, warning him that it was wrong to use him as a pawn.
“I said to Dan, ‘Do you realize what you’re doing to this kid?’” Shanahan said.
Snyder refused to comment on the report, but it’s consistent with longstanding talk around the NFL that Shanahan felt undermined in his attempts to build an offense around Griffin. Ultimately, Snyder fired Shanahan 11 months after that meeting with Griffin. Now Shanahan is out of the NFL, Griffin is in Cleveland and Jay Gruden is coaching Kirk Cousins in Washington — hopefully without interference from Snyder.