According to Mike Wise of the Washington Post, tension between Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Robert Griffin III started to rise back in January after the starting quarterback tore up his knee.
Soon after Griffin’s devastating knee injury last January, Shanahan reached out to the Griffin family. Putting himself in the shoes of Griffin’s parents — knowing he would want the same clarity if it were his child writhing in pain on the ground of FedEx Field in the waning moments of that playoff loss to Seattle and had undergone major knee surgery — the coach merely wanted to explain what led up to the most crucial, in-game, on-the-fly decision of his tenure in Washington.
Shanahan eventually was able to communicate those thoughts — but not before he was originally rebuffed, according to people on both sides with knowledge of last January’s events who spoke on condition of anonymity in interviews over the past three weeks.
RG3’s father felt like Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling was the reason for him tearing up his knee.
Robert Griffin Jr. appreciated the coach’s gesture. But he also felt Shanahan needed to worry strictly about coaching his football team rather than building a stronger bond with his son, that what’s done is done and that both parties needed to move forward and concentrate on ensuring Griffin’s health wasn’t put in jeopardy again by anyone or anything — ego, play-calling or the quarterback’s own stubborn pride.
A point of clarification here: The source of the Griffins’ discontent over the whole episode wasn’t that a gimpy Robert was allowed to continue playing, especially because he did everything but beg to be on the field; no, it was the play-calling of Kyle Shanahan, the team’s offensive coordinator and Mike’s son, after Griffin was first hurt that they felt put him at further risk.
Wise says that it all comes down to Shanahan believing he knew what was best for RG3 and RG3 disagreeing with him.
It was never just a personality difference between two overly competitive men from different generations as much as it was a clear divide over what Robert Griffin III thought was best for him and what Mike Shanahan thought was best for his starting quarterback.
Now that the Redskins are in last place in the NFC East, things haven’t gotten any better between Griffin and Shanahan.