December 11, 2013 officially become one of the more bizarre days in the history of Washington Redskins football. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ship that is an NFL team sink so quickly in the matter of three working days. Its an unmitigated disaster.
Mike Shanahan is attempting to get fired. He’s leaking information to media. He threw several players and positional groups under the bus during his Monday news conference. Hindsight tells you that he’s quit, not only the reported days prior to the team’s playoff game in January, but several times before that.
Now he’s decided to “rest” Washington’s franchise QB Robert Griffin III for the team’s final three games because he’s taken too many hits. Yet, this is a coaching staff that dialed up the read option seemingly every other play a couple weeks ago against the San Francisco 49ers. This is an offensive line that Shanahan pieced together and it happens to be the lightest group of individuals in the NFL. I have never seen a QB get shut down for the remainder of a season because he’s been hit too much. How about benching an offensive lineman or two?
Shanahan refuses to hold himself accountable. This is a guy who has full control of the Washington Redskins. It’s in his contract. If he wants the walls at Redskins Park painted white — Snyder funds it. Shanahan wanted a bubble — he got it. He also wanted to move training camp away from Ashburn, Va — his wish came true. He spearheaded the new playing surface at FedEx Field — some wanted turf, but no, Shanahan wanted grass — guess what? He got that too.
Redskins PR has an entire page laid out in their weekly game guide for media about all these new improvements that Shanahan wanted and Snyder funded. “You want a state-of-the-art weight room,” Shanahan said, as written in the media guide. “You want state-of-the-art meeting rooms, the technology that some of these new teams have, we want to have that ability as well. We want free agents to come here and say, ‘Hey, what a great facility. I can see me coming here and getting better as a football player.’ And obviously we get better as an organization.”
He even set laws from day one, including a “no double parking” rule that players must heed to. Shanahan is an extremist. He goes overboard with every detail.
Washington Redskins’ Owner Dan Snyder allowed Mike Shanahan to be the boss. So for him to point fingers at someone other than himself is cowardly. And he’s doing all of this because of his ego. Not to mention, the fact that he’s contractually owed $7 million if fired.
He wants to get fired and take the money. But he’s walking a thin line and it could all blow up in his face. “Everyone thinks that NFL Head Coaches contracts are guaranteed — they are, but they’re not” — said Fox Sports NFL Insider Jay Glazer to TMZ Wednesday.
He’s not shutting down Robert Griffin III because of the hits he’s taking. Shanahan is essentially holding Griffin hostage in this game of chicken he’s playing with Dan Snyder. But on Wednesday, Shanahan put on a Hollywood production of a press conference — “The first thing I did is I talked to Dan Snyder about a week ago, talking about the amount of hits Robert has had,” said Shanahan. “Anytime you’re hit as many times as he’s been hit, I thought it was in his best interest, the organization’s, to talk about if we should continue playing Robert if he’s hit as many times as he’s been hit. Dan thought about it and talked to [Executive Vice President/General Manager] Bruce [Allen] about it, and at the end of the day we felt that the best thing to do for Robert was to not play him – give Kirk 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.”
First of all, I haven’t heard Shanahan mention the name “Bruce Allen” since the summer. He just rarely mentions him. He did a wonderful job game planning this presser beforehand. Of course, as previously stated, Shanahan has full control over personnel decisions. In fact, there was a report that came out Tuesday stating that Snyder would stay out of the decision making process regarding whether they should sit Griffin or not. So when asked if he has to run his decisions past the owner, Shanahan said, “in theory, I don’t.” However, he says when it deals with the quarterback, that’s one decision you have the courtesy to bring up with the owner.
“Well, that’s what you do about a quarterback,” Shanahan said. “He’s your franchise. That’s why you ask those questions. You don’t do it about the other positions. Dan could care less about the other positions. ‘Hey, that’s why you coach, that’s why I own.’ I understand that. That’s not a problem, but I do ask it about a quarterback because we’re going to have a circus atmosphere any time you make a decision like that.”
It was thoughtful of Shanahan to have the courtesy to consider the circus that would ensue after making a move like that. But he was kind of too late. He just added another act to the program.
Dan Snyder is doing right by staying silent and out of the picture. It’s as if he’s allowing Shanahan to dig his own hole and it’s working. Shanahan has apparently been through this before according to his former player from his Denver Broncos days. Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe tweeted on Wednesday that the late Al Davis never gave Shanahan his money after his breakup with the Oakland Raiders. Sharpe tweeted, “Al told Mike. It’s gonna cost you more in court than what I owe you. Mike said forget it.”
In the end, I get the feeling that Dan Snyder wins this fight. He’s allowing Shanahan to look like a clown all by himself.
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