Mike Shanahan presser: “A decision that I think is best for Robert”
Embattled Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan opened his press conference today, speaking moments after demoted QB Robert Griffin III finished talking, by saying he broached the subject of Griffin sitting down about a week ago with team owner Dan Snyder. Shanahan said he has been concerned about the hits Griffin has been taking and would be taking if he spent another three games behind the leaky and ineffective offensive line Shanahan created by Shanahan himself.
Shanahan spoke for about half an hour, denying that he made this decision to provoke Snyder into firing him, claiming instead he was concerned about the best interests of the team and Griffin himself.
“We made a decision that I think is best for Robert,” said Shanahan.
According to Shanahan there was internal talk on the team about benching Griffin prior to the Chiefs game, but it was put off until this week. Shanahan said Snyder and team General Manager Bruce Allen support the decision and the move would not have been made without their support. [There is no confirmation from Snyder or Allen that this is true. Shanahan's contract gives him full control over Redskins personnel decisions.] Shanahan allowed that “in theory” he did not have to consult anyone on the decision to bench Griffin, he believed he ought to do so in the case of the team’s franchise quarterback.
“Well, just put it this way: I said if either one wasn’t 100 percent behind my reasoning that I’m giving you, I said we won’t go there… Nothing needs to be said. We’ll just keep it status quo.”
“With Robert, I though that his hits were piling up on him… The best thing to do is to go into that third year injury free.”
“I don’t think it’s worth the risk for the future of this organization to put him in there,” opined Shanahan, though few believe he will be around for the future of the organization.
Asked about Griffin’s response to the benching, Shanahan said “I know he won’t understand. He won’t.”
Shanahan dodged a question about whether Griffin or the offensive line should be blamed for the hits RG3 has been taking, saying “it doesn’t matter.”
Going back to last season, Shanahan claimed claimed his gut instinct was to remove Griffin from the playoff game against Seattle at halftime, but he didn’t follow that instinct. Shanahan said he could kick himself for failing to do so.
When asked if he thought he would return as coach next season, Shanahan said “That’s Dan’s decision at the end of this year… My job is to do the right thing.”
He added: “At the end of the day you’ve got to feel like your football team did the right thing” and “I’m trying to be as honest as I can. I don’t normally do that.”