- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Robert Griffin III made his rounds last week with the local media, and it’s clear that things are looking up for SuperBob. There’s a spring in his step. His food tastes a little better. The sun is shining a little brighter.

Why? Well, because the warden is gone.


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SuperBob became the latest Redskin to present the narrative of the Redskins offseason — that the presence of Mike Shanahan at Redskins Park was the NFL version of Shawshank State Penitentiary, and everyone is feeling like Andy Dufresne walking on a Mexican beach these days.

“It’s hard to describe unless you’ve been here to feel it, but it’s just one of those moments where you kind of go, ‘Ahh,’” SuperBob told The Washington Times. “No one’s relaxed in a lackadaisical way. It’s just that guys are kind of able to be themselves. That’s not a comparison or knock on anything that happened in the previous regime. It’s just a testament to what Jay [Gruden] has brought to the table, and I think guys are excited about that.”

There you go. He may have attempted to couch it in terms of “not a comparison or knock on anything that happened in the previous regime,” but SuperBob’s relief — his “Ahh” moment — is because reform has come to Shawshank Park.


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He’s not alone. We’ve heard subtlely and not so subtlely that Mike Shanahan held talent hostage — that his interference led to one of the worst defenses in the league, and his autocratic style kept talent evaluators from successfully putting together a championship roster of players.

Now that he’s gone, well — “Ahh.”

If we are to buy into Shanahan as the NFL version of the Shawshank warden, well, then we must believe that none of the following was true:

The report from Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins that SuperBob “bragged to teammates that he could procure favors from the owner and influence the franchise’s direction.”

The report from NFL.com’s Michael Silver that SuperBob asked the Redskins coaches to eliminate bad plays from the team’s film study.

There were so many others from various sources — such as SuperBob and his father presenting a tape to Warden Shanahan telling him what plays the quarterback would run and would not run, and his insecurity about the presence of Kirk Cousins.

All of that, we must assume by the bright light coming from Redskins Park these days, was false. Don’t we?

Shanahan was no barrel of laughs. It’s perfectly plausible that he was manipulative and devious. And from what we’ve seen, Gruden is a stark contrast, personality-wise — a more affable, less guarded fellow.

But it’s hard to believe that everything that led to a 3-13 record last year was because of Mike Shanahan — the same coach who was in charge of the 10-6 NFC East champions the year before.

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