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Is Mike Shanahan benching RG3 to provoke Daniel Snyder to fire him?

Mike Shanahan Robert GriffinKirk Cousins is expected to start at quarterback for the Washington Redskins this weekend over Robert Griffin III, according to ESPN’s John Keim. When Mike Shanahan told the media earlier this week that he was considering shutting RG3 down for the remainder of the season to protect his health, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the former Baylor star had played his last snap in 2013.

The Redskins are 3-10, so it doesn’t really matter who their starting quarterback is for the final three games of the season. The most intriguing aspect of the story centers around Shanahan’s motivation for benching Griffin. On Tuesday, Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported that a source close to the Redskins believes Shanahan’s decision to bench RG3 could be an attempt at getting team owner Daniel Snyder to fire him.

Shanahan is under contract through next season. If he is fired, he would in all likelihood receive the remainder of the $7 million he is still owed. If he chooses to resign, he would forfeit the remainder of the money.

Maske also noted that the details of Shanahan’s contract are not known, but many believe it gives him the final say over personnel decisions like who will be the team’s starting quarterback. It’s possible that if Snyder attempts to intervene and force Shanahan to start RG3, Shanahan could contend that the terms of his contract were violated. In an instance like that, Shanahan might be able to resign and still collect the remainder of his money.

That theory would make sense and it would certainly help explain why an earlier report claimed Snyder would not step in if Shanahan chooses to bench Griffin. Snyder and RG3 seem to be so tight that it is widely assumed Shanahan is tired of their relationship. It would not be far-fetched to think that he is looking for a way out by benching Griffin.

Report: Daniel Snyder would not stop Mike Shanahan from benching RG3

Robert-Griffin-RedskinsRobert Griffin III may find himself standing on the sideline this weekend when the Washington Redskins take on the Atlanta Falcons. On Monday, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan told the media that he has considered benching Griffin for the remainder of the season to protect his health. Shanahan’s remarks were followed with speculation that team owner Daniel Snyder would never allow something like that to happen.

According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, Snyder would not stand in Shanahan’s way if he chose to go with Kirk Cousins over RG3.

“He won’t step in and interfere with that,” a person familiar with the situation reportedly told Maske on Tuesday. “He’s not going to step into a personnel decision that way.”

The belief all along has been that the relationship between Snyder and Griffin has created problems for Snyder and Shanahan. In other words, Snyder expects RG3 to be the quarterback of the future for the Redskins. If Shanahan and his son — offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan — cannot find a way to win with Griffin, both will likely be fired. Most people expect them to be fired after the season ends, at the latest.

As Maske noted, Snyder may be inclined to let Shanahan bench RG3 because he agrees with the reasoning — not because he is opposed to pressuring his head coach into a certain personnel decision. Griffin has been getting hammered over the past several games and always looks one hit away from another major injury. The Redskins are currently 3-10. Why risk it?

Mike Shanahan says he has considered benching RG3, hasn’t spoken to him about it

Mike Shanahan Robert GriffinThe Mike Shanahan watch is in full swing, with many speculating that the Washington Redskins head coach is going to be fired in the wake of his team’s embarrassing 45-10 home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Redskins are 3-10 this season after reaching the playoffs in 2012. Shanahan’s relationship with Robert Griffin III has seemed rocky all season, and it may have just gotten rockier.

On Monday, Shanahan told reporters that he is considering benching RG3 for the remainder of the season to protect his health. Griffin, the future of the franchise, has been sacked a whopping 24 times in the past five games — all losses.

“I want to make sure he’s healthy going into off season,” Shanahan said, via Around the League. “I’ll think about it and decide Wednesday.”

The move would almost certainly upset Griffin, who vowed to be ready for the start of the regular season and let it be known publicly that he was upset with Shanahan for holding him out of practices and preseason play. But the worst part of all is that Shanahan said he has not discussed the prospect of benching RG3 with RG3. That means the former Baylor star found out about it during the press conference like the rest of us.

“I told him I’m his coach, not his best friend,” Shanahan said when asked about his relationship with Griffin.

RG3 recently denied that he rushed back from knee surgery because he believed backup quarterback Kirk Cousins could steal his job. A number of people have insisted Cousins would give the Redskins a better chance to win right now given the way Griffin has played and how ineffective he has been, particularly with his legs. Based on Shanahan’s comments, it sounds like we’re about to find out.

Unless, of course, team owner Daniel Snyder accepts the dare Shanny threw at him on Monday. What dare is that? The “fire me, I dare you,” line he might as well have dropped when discussing RG3.

Robert Griffin III denies he rushed back because he was worried about Kirk Cousins

Robert Griffin IIIRobert Griffin III denies that he rushed back from knee surgery because he feared Kirk Cousins could take his starting quarterback job.

Cousins, a 2012 fourth-round pick out of Michigan State, helped lead Washington to victory after Griffin got hurt against Baltimore last year. He also won in Week 15 at Cleveland and looked pretty good whenever he got playing time.

There has been speculation the past several months that RG3 hurried back from surgery to repair his torn ACL and LCL because he was worried about losing his job. NFL Network took that speculation to another level when they reported that some with the Redskins felt RG3 returned eight months after having surgery because he was concerned about Cousins.

Here’s what they wrote:

Redskins coaches have noticed an insecurity with Griffin this season, and some in the organization believed part of his motivation to quickly return from ACL surgery was driven out of fear that Kirk Cousins would make a run at his job.

In comments to CSN Washington, Griffin disputed that notion.

“Me and Kirk have always been good,” Griffin told CSNwashington.com. “That’s not an issue. The way I look at it, hard work, dedication and God’s grace is what helped me come back and play so quick.

“My job during the offseason was to get ready to go and make sure Kirk was ready to go,” Griffin said. “And we worked well together.”

Allow me to call B.S. here and say I don’t believe Griffin. Griffin saying he has a good relationship with Cousins doesn’t exactly answer the question. They can still have a good relationship and he could still be worried about playing for his job. I absolutely think he hurried back in part because of Cousins. He probably hurried back because he wants to be out there and, like any competitor, how could he not be concerned about someone getting a crack at his job?

Trent Williams: Robert Griffin III, Mike Shanahan don’t deserve the criticism

Mike Shanahan Robert GriffinRobert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan have been widely criticized amid the Washington Redskins’ struggles the last several weeks, and offensive lineman Trent Williams believes it’s undeserved.

Williams and defensive team leader London Fletcher both were asked whether there’s any extra motivation for the team to play for Shanahan’s job, and they said no. That wasn’t an insult to Shanahan so much as it was a matter of them saying they’re focusing on their jobs. But Williams did tell The Washington Post that RG3 and Shanny don’t deserve all the criticism they’re facing.

“The media, number one, is going to go to the head coach and then the quarterback. But, it really has nothing to do with the head coach or the quarterback, why we’re struggling,” Williams said. “We’re just not playing well as a team. I’m pretty sure Robert knows that he’s going to get some scrutiny, but I don’t think he deserves it. I don’t think coach Shanahan deserves it, to see people talk and say he’s not doing his job. I think he’s doing a heck of a job. It does wear on you to see people go through undeserving criticism.”

Few people would agree that Shanahan is doing a “heck of a job,” but maybe he and RG3 are being criticized excessively. I wouldn’t at all call it undeserving, though.

Both parties are extremely deserving of criticism. Shanahan deserves criticism going back to playing Griffing when the quarterback was hurt last year. RG3 deserves criticism for his mixed public comments about his coaches and his subtle shots. And whoever’s in charge of the decision making there — likely Daniel Snyder — deserves criticism for having Griffin start Week 1 and sticking with him when the guy hasn’t looked healthy, as many players have said.

Chris Canty: Kirk Cousins would give Redskins better chance than Robert Griffin III

Robert-Griffin-RedskinsMike Shanahan has no intention of benching Robert Griffin III. With the Washington Redskins out of playoff contention, the last thing the team needs is to give RG3 less reps and potentially set the future of the team back even further. Having said that, there are plenty of people who feel that backup quarterback Kirk Cousins should be given an opportunity. Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Chris Canty is one of those people.

During an appearance on NFL Network, Canty said he agrees with San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks’ assessment of RG3′s play this season.

“I have to agree with Ahmad Brooks,” Canty said, per Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog. “It’s clear that RG3 does not have the explosion that he had during his rookie campaign. You know what, much of his game is predicated on his agility, his elusiveness and his ability to be able to separate from defenders. He can’t do that and that knee is not 100 percent healthy. This is his second reconstruction on that same knee. I think it takes a little more time for that guy to develop and get healthy in order to put himself in good positions to be able to help his team win.”

Griffin has obviously been cleared to play. He is probably not 100%, but he has to play and continue to develop if he wants to eventually get there. Given the current state of the Redskins, I don’t think sitting him would be beneficial. Canty disagrees.

“I think they should sit him down,” he added. “It’s clear that he is not able to run the offense at the high level that he did during in his rookie year. I think Kirk Cousins gives them the best opportunity to win football games right now.”

The real concern for Washington is Griffin’s future as a scrambling quarterback. If he is going to have to wear a bulky knee brace for the rest of his career, he may never be the explosive player the Redskins drafted.

Donovan McNabb blames Washington Redskins for Robert Griffin III media circus

Robert-Griffin-III-RedskinsRobert Griffin III has become one of the media’s favorite punching bags this season. After vowing to be ready for the start of the 2013 season, Griffin has been terrible. He has held onto the ball too long, failed to make accurate throws and not been a legitimate threat to scramble. According to Donovan McNabb, the Washington Redskins are responsible for creating the media circus.

“Really, to be honest, it started this offseason,” McNabb said on FOX Sports Live, via Sarah Kogod of DC Sports Bog. “Because everyone tried to sugarcoat the fact that he shouldn’t have been in the game while he’s hurt, they’re trying to cover each other’s side, and then now you see him out on posters, rehabbing, getting his knee back, his health, he’s ready to go. And so it became a circus.

“I blame the Washington Redskins for this, because you’re in control of the cameras that are out there. You know that you have guys that are coming back off of injury and why are we seeing it on ESPN, why are we seeing it on the national news? … From that circus on to where we are right now, it’s a pattern in which we’ve seen it coming.”

As Kogod pointed out, RG3 made the decision to sign on as a producer for a special documenting his rehab. He was also responsible for any comeback campaigns that were run by Adidas. Still, McNabb does not believe Griffin is getting enough help from his teammates and coaches.

“I know exactly what he’s going through,” McNabb said. “But is there somebody that’s helping him right now? I don’t think so. I don’t think so. Because you don’t hear any of his teammates coming to his defense, speaking up and saying, ‘Hey you know what, I’ve got to play better, Robert did a good job today doing this, doing that, we all can get better.’”

McNabb has said in the past that the Redskins are brainwashing RG3. He has also been critical of the former Baylor star at times, which is likely why Griffin has chosen to not speak with him or take his advice. At this point, everyone on the Redskins needs to be held accountable. It takes a group effort to play as poorly as they have.