NFL Team Report - Washington Redskins - INSIDE SLANT
So much for Robert Griffin III saying after last Sunday's 45-10 loss to Kansas City that his benching during the fourth quarter wasn't an issue.
"Anytime you're hit as many times as he (has) been hit, I thought it was in his best interest, the organization's, to talk about if we should continue playing Robert," Shanahan said at the start of a 28-minute press conference on just one topic Wednesday.
"We felt that the best thing to do for Robert was to not play him -- give Kirk (Cousins) an opportunity to play -- so he could go into an offseason healthy. Any time you miss an offseason in the National Football League it does set you back quite a bit, and we thought going into this offseason (after) missing last year, that this was the best way to do it."
The "we" referred to Redskins owner Dan Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen as Shanahan spun hard to try to show that he and Snyder were in sync on such a momentous decision, just three days after ESPN.com reported that the coach considered quitting before last season was finished because of the owner's tight relationship with the quarterback.
"What I'm trying to do is be as honest as I can and I don't normally do that," Shanahan said with masterful Washington spin.
The onus is now on Snyder and Allen, who rarely speak to media members, especially on the record. If they don't deny Shanahan's version of the decision-making process about Griffin, then the embattled coach no longer appears insubordinate and can claim the $7 million he's due in 2014 if he's fired, as expected.
"If I'm going to try to get fired, I'm not going to call up Dan Snyder and ask his opinion on the player," said Shanahan, who is 24-38 during his four seasons. "If he says no, I'm not going to go in that direction."
Griffin, who has been sacked 38 times, more than all but four NFL quarterbacks, wasn't pleased with that direction.
"I expressed my desire (to Shanahan) to play, (but) at this point, I just have to leave it up to Coach, like it always is," Griffin said. "It's a tough time, (but) if I allowed it to break my spirit, then I wouldn't be the person that I think my parents raised me to be."
Last week, Griffin said that he "loved" working with Shanahan and the coach's son/offensive coordinator Kyle. Asked today if that was still true, Griffin wasn't nearly as effusive, saying, "(There's a) general misconception that players in our locker room want people gone."
Shanahan also said that he regrets not going with his gut and sitting Griffin once it was obvious the quarterback was hurting against the Seahawks. The coach even said that keeping Griffin in that game cost the Redskins, who led early 14-0, a victory, which ironically would've advanced them to a divisional round game at Atlanta, where Cousins will start on Sunday with veteran Rex Grossman, the third-stringer the last two years, as the backup.
"I do believe that Robert is the franchise quarterback here in Washington," Cousins said. "He was drafted No. 2 overall. A lot of picks were traded to get him. Common sense would say that this is his team, and I've never wanted to take that away from him or do anything to undermine his role. Even as I start this week, I believe that ... this is Robert's team going forward into next season."
SERIES HISTORY: 23rd regular-season meeting. Redskins lead series, 14-7-1. The most memorable meeting came in 1991 when Washington quarterback Mark Rypien threw a franchise-record six touchdown passes as the Redskins rolled 56-17 en route to winning their third Super Bowl in a decade.
NFL Team Report - Washington Redskins - NOTES, QUOTES
-- Receiver Santana Moss has been in Washington for a team-high nine seasons through plenty of drama. So Moss feels for Robert Griffin III, the franchise quarterback who hs been benched for the final three meaningless games.
"No player wants to be in Robert's situation right now," Moss said. "You feel for him having to go through it. I know he's probably going to be ticked. I'd be ticked. He probably wanted to do that these last three games, but he doesn't have that opportunity. For his sake, when it comes to what he's already gone through, I feel like all you can do is accept it. At the end of the day if it's going to help him and give him a little more time to put this season behind him and get ready for next year. Robert knows he's going to be here. He knows he has time to correct everything he did this year he doesn't feel he was at his best with."