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Column: Mike Shanahan sets up a messy departure
Question of the Day
After winning back-to-back Super Bowls with Elway, Shanahan’s record is 115-106, with two division titles and an ugly 1-5 mark in the postseason.
Not terrible. Certainly not greatness.
In a few weeks, Shanahan will surely be fired by Washington. We can all hope that’s the last we see of this snake-oil salesman, who pretty much reaffirmed what he is when telling reporters, again trying to persuade them of his reasoning for benching Griffin before his nose grew out of the room, “What I’m trying to do is be as honest as I can. And I don’t normally do that.”
Since there’s no reason to believe anything he’s said before _ we’ll take that to mean he also stabbed Dan Reeves in the back to land the Broncos job _ we’ll just assume that Shanahan benched his quarterback for the same reason he does most things: To make himself look good.
If he had just said he was wrong all along, that Griffin clearly wasn’t fully recovered from a devastating knee injury and shouldn’t have been playing in the first place (no argument there, given RG3 clearly isn’t the same dynamic player he was a year ago), maybe a shutdown would’ve been seen as a logical move.
Instead, it comes across as Shanahan taking his final swing at Griffin and Snyder, whom he apparently believes had grown too close and undermined the coach’s authority. He may even have a leg to stand on, given RG3’s sense of entitlement and Snyder’s track record. But this wasn’t the way to do it, to make this ridiculous gesture simply to show who’s in charge.
Also keep in mind: Shanahan made this move with Washington closing out against the Falcons (3-10 and ranked 27th in total defense), the Cowboys (dead last in yards allowed) and the disappointing New York Giants (playing out the string). If Cousins plays well _ and he very well could _ Shanahan will surely look to parlay his Washington exit into another coaching job.
Where does Washington go from here? If Snyder is wise _ quit laughing, everyone _ he’ll pass on those suggesting he hire Griffin’s coach at Baylor, Art Briles. Bringing in someone who’ll be viewed as RG3’s lackey is no way to clean up this mess.
And, rest assured, it’s a mess.
For that, Washington can thank its soon-to-be former coach.
Paul Newberry is a national writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberry(at)apr.org or www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963
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