Kyle Shanahan: Relationship with Robert Griffin III 'the same as it's always been'

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Kyle Shanahan said Thursday that his relationship with quarterback Robert Griffin III “is the same as it’s always been,” just that the perception of it has changed as the Washington Redskins have lost nine of their 12 games.

“I understand when you’re not going well, when you only have three wins, people are going to pick at stuff,” Shanahan, the Redskins’ offensive coordinator, said. “I get that. But you know, what I’ve learned since I’ve been here is to make sure I don’t make perception become my reality. I go to work every day just like I always have and work with Robert every day, just like I did every day last year. Everyone’s having a hard time because we’re not winning games. We need to figure out a way to win games. When you don’t win games, people are gonna say, ‘This is why,’ or ‘That’s why,’ and I’ve learned that comes with the territory.”

Shanahan’s relationship with Griffin is an offshoot of the ever-changing dynamic between his father, coach Mike Shanahan, and the quarterback. Reports earlier in the week indicated that Griffin was displeased with Kyle Shanahan’s playcalling after he sprained a ligament in his right knee a year ago in a victory over the Baltimore Ravens, and that has kept a divide between the two parties that has been tough to overcome.

“When somebody tells me they’re healthy, and also, doctors tell me somebody’s good enough to go, I don’t sit there and go against what somebody’s telling me,” Kyle Shanahan said. “I believe what I see and you know, that’s why the times he got hurt were actually on pass plays, never on the zone read.”

“I felt we tried to put Robert in the best situation to be successful,” he continued. “You don’t just do stuff that you feel someone can do. You try to do stuff that gives them the best chance to be successful, and I felt like that’s what we’ve done since the day he’s got here. I would really not enjoy coaching if I had to start trying to do stuff that I thought he would be bad at. I tried to do what I think helps him and helps him look good and helps him play good, which ultimately helps the team.”

Upon drafting Griffin with the No. 2 overall pick last April, the Redskins revamped their playbook, enhancing it with a variety of option plays and screen throws, among others, designed to take advantage of Griffin’s abilities.

Shanahan admitted Thursday he did call one play last season after Griffin had sustained his knee injury that required Griffin to run out of the pocket, but that he first drew it up on the sidelines and asked Griffin if he could physically do what was being asked.

“[I] said, ‘Do you think we’re capable of doing this?’ and I was told yes, so I ran that play,” Shanahan said, though the exact nature of the play and when it happened remain unclear.

When asked about the relationships he typically has with players, and how he can compare his with Griffin to those he’s had with quarterbacks in the past, Shanahan was unable to do so.

“I don’t just try to be their friend and their buddy,” Shanahan said. “I try to help them. I try to keep it real with them – tell them what they’re doing right, tell them what they’re doing wrong – and hope that they can use me as an asset, as someone who can help them and help their career. Usually, when people are like that, they respect you for it.”

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