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LOVERRO: Shanahan’s parting gift to RG3 was removal from line of fire
Odds are the following words will be spoken by the Redskins Politburo to every candidate interviewing for the head coaching job:
"Don't believe everything you read. He's really not that bad."
Will they be talking about the owner or the quarterback?
Mike Shanahan gave Robert "SuperBob" Griffin III one final gift in his final weeks as Redskins head coach – he took him out of the line of fire.
SuperBob was not just saved from the beating he might have taken on the field in the final one on the field, saving him from the beating he might have taken in the final three games of the season by benching him.
He was also taken out of the media picture while the war of leaks took place in the final days of the Shanahan regime – no press conferences, because there was no reason to talk to the third-string quarterback.
In the trilogy of terror that gripped Redskins Park in the final weeks, SuperBob became the invisible villain, while Shanahan and owner Daniel Snyder did battle with anonymous quotes and sources. Otherwise, SuperBob's reputation might be damaged further than it already is.
And make no mistake about it – SuperBob has gone from the NFL's brightest new star to a diva, destructive figure. In an ESPN poll asking, "Who bears the most responsibility for the Redskins struggles in 2013?," Snyder is the biggest culprit, with 38 percent of the more than 137,000 people who voted, but second is SuperBob, with 33 percent.
Shanahan, according to the poll, was the least responsible, with 29 percent of the vote.
If Team SuperBob hasn't gotten the message yet, those numbers should alert them to the reality that Subway SuperBob has left people with a bad taste in their mouths.
Shanahan is toxic in Washington, but as those numbers show, in the sports landscape, he is the least villainous figure involved in this melodrama. He will get another NFL head coaching job, despite not being among the names mentioned in the current openings. He'll likely sit in his luxury Denver home and count the $7 million he has coming next year, but I'm willing to bet he will be in play for coaching jobs in 2015.
Shanahan, like nearly everyone who has been here in Washington, will be inoculated from the results here in Washington, because the perception is that no one can function and succeed with this franchise. The Redskins are the Chinatown of the NFL – "Come on, Jake – it's Chinatown."
SuperBob, though, he's stuck here, and won't have the luxury of time and distance to repair his image. If he is as smart as he seems to be, he's realize that being out of sight will only continue to benefit him.
The opposite of this – laying low, processing the humbling he went through this season – would be if his former college coach, Art Briles, winds up the Redskins head coach.
That would tell the world that SuperBob is large and in charge at Redskins Park – no matter what Bruce Allen said last week in his Alexander Haig moment.
"The control will be mine, and it will be working with our personnel department," Allen told reporters. "The personnel department of [Director of Player Personnel] Scott Campbell and [Director of Pro Personnel] Morocco Brown actually do a very good job at what they do."
If there was ever a symbol of the Redskins dysfunction, it is the continued presence of Campbell and Brown. They have been there throughout much of the disaster that has been this franchise – Campbell for 13 seasons, Brown for six – yet they have reputations as solid personnel men who have been ignored by Redskins decision makers.
But now it's going to be different?
Not if Art Briles is hired to coach this team.
If that happens, will RG II have an office at Redskins Park? Will he be in the draft room?
Will he have his own parking space?
This is the perception problem that SuperBob is facing. If Briles is hired as the next Redskins coach, then Team SuperBob clearly could care less what anyone thinks. We already know the Redskins don't care what anyone thinks. They couldn't possibly care – could they?
• Thom Loverro is co-host of "The Sports Fix,"noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 radio and espn980.com
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About the Author
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