Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan denied an NFL Network report Sunday that quarterback Robert Griffin III has asked the team to stop showing his negative plays during film sessions.
Shanahan was not scheduled to speak with reporters Sunday. The Redskins play the San Francisco 49ers on Monday at FedEx Field.
“The story is completely false,” Shanahan said. “There’s just no truth to it.”
The NFL Network segment, featuring reporters Michael Silver and Ian Rapoport, claims that Griffin’s negative plays were never shown during team meetings during his college football career at Baylor and that the player asked the same be done with the Redskins, who refused.
The full comments from Silver’s segment on NFL GameDay Morning: “Well, Ian, there’s a lot of air to be cleared. This is real. RG3 has expressed to teammates his dissatisfaction with Mike Shanahan and this could be coming to a head.”
“Inside the building, when you talk to people familiar with the situation, they perceive RG3 as kind of insecure, specifically about [backup quarterback] Kirk Cousins, which may be one reason he was so eager to rush back [from knee surgery]. At Baylor, they didn’t put RG3’s bad plays up on the board in the meeting rooms. Sources familiar with the situation say he has asked the Redskins to do the same. They have refused to this point. But keep an eye on this situation.”
Shanahan’s comments during a late-morning phone conversation with the Times were brief, but pointed. There have been plenty of other reports over the last eight months questioning Griffin and his relationship with Mike Shanahan and his son, Kyle, the team’s offensive coordinator, that didn’t merit off-day comments. But Mike Shanahan clearly felt Silver’s story went too far.
That report, however, comes one week after Griffin appeared to duck blame for his late interception against the Philadelphia Eagles in a 24-16 loss. That led to a public rebuke from teammate Santana Moss. Griffin later clarified his comments to reporters and also met separately with the Shanahans to explain himself.
“[Reporters] make a big deal of it, and understandably so. I totally understand that,” Kyle Shanahan said on Thursday. “But I try not to pay too much attention to quotes and stuff because you never really know what someone meant and what they were trying to say – or whether they meant what they said. What helped me was that Robert did come in. I didn’t ask him to. He came in and talked to me on Monday about it and tried to clear it up with me and explain to me what he meant to say. Once I heard him and talked to him, I was fine with it. I didn’t take anything personally and it made sense to me what he told me.”
Moss had told radio station 106.7 – The Fan’s LaVar and Dukes program on Tuesday that he wished Griffin had taken personal responsibility for his late interception against the Eagles. The following day Moss clarified those remarks, saying that Griffin could keep stories from mushrooming by simply shouldering the blame afterwards himself. It’s an assessment the quarterback appeared to agree with during his own press conference on Wednesday.
Prior to Silver’s comments, Rapoport weighed in on the NFL GameDay Morning program: “We heard earlier in the week when it seemed that RG3 threw his coaches under the bus a little bit by saying the Eagles knew what was coming. What I am told is that RG3 met with Mike Shanahan to clear the air and the word I get from inside the building is they are working together, there’s an air of positivity – essentially because there’s no other choice.”
“Kirk Cousins is not an option, has never been an option, Mike. But as you know, when you talk to players, you get a guy like Santana Moss, who grew up in the Bill Parcells world where the quarterback takes blame for everything, RG3 hasn’t done that and that’s rankled some guys.”
That is accurate, but while those comments “rankled” some players, it is also true that others, both on and off the record, including Moss, pronounced their support for Griffin this week, too. Veteran linebacker London Fletcher made an impassioned defense of the quarterback on Wednesday.
But Moss’ comments – similar to ones he made about wide receiver Pierre Garcon last month after the wide receiver was bluntly critical of the offense – were more about keeping problems and issues inside the locker room so that they don’t become an extended, distracting story. In each case, Moss said he expressed himself directly to Garcon and Griffin about why he was unhappy.
“We can lie to [reporters] every time we come on air about something that’s going on,” Moss told 106.7 – The Fan on Tuesday. “So for you to allow someone to take what you say out-of-context, and make it more than what it is, then to me I feel like you’re allowing that. You are letting that be more than what it really is.”