Kyle Shanahan discusses his relationship with RGIII


(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Kyle Shanahan and the two other new Cleveland Browns coordinators met with reporters on Thursday, holding a joint news conference that lasted nearly 30 minutes. Shanahan fielded the most questions of the three, and several of his answers pertained directly to the four years he spent in Washington.

Most germane, perhaps, was the penultimate question, which dealt with the challenges of coaching a high-profile quarterback, and Shanahan’s relationship with Robert Griffin III.

“Robert and I had two years together,” Shanahan said. “We did a lot of real good things together. I’m very proud of that first year. I think he arguably had one of the best years in NFL history for a rookie quarterback. I enjoyed coaching him. It challenged me, because I had to do some things that I hadn’t done before, so I had to look at tape in a different way and try to put some different things in. And  I think that improved myself. I’m able to see the game a little differently. I was able to do some things with Robert that I hadn’t been able to do with other quarterbacks, and that was really fun to do.

“That injury and going into that second year, it was a challenge,” Shanahan continued. “Anytime you go through a 3-13 season, it’s tough. And Robert and I always had a great relationship. I enjoyed coaching him. Anytime you go through a 3-13 season, it is a challenge. It’s a challenge on your relationship, it’s a challenge with everybody in the building. You’ve got to deal with a lot of stuff, a lot of negativity. And the thing I learned going through that — especially with a high-profile guy — there’s a lot more stuff that comes out.

“And a thing that I always did with him — and that we did with each other — is when stuff would come out, we’d address it,” Shanahan said. “You know, we’d get into our room, we’d talk about it and make sure we felt good about it. And I think Robert and I, through a very tough time, we managed to keep our relationship through the year. I’m not gonna say it was easy. Nothing’s easy when you go through something like that. But I do believe going through it, Robert and I, in the long run, it’ll make both of us better. It’s something that is a challenge, and I do believe going through that, as hard as it was, will help me. And I think when it’s all said and done and Robert and I look back on it, I’m really appreciative of some of the stuff he did for me. And I really believe he’ll be appreciative of some of the stuff I did for him.”

Shanahan also dealt with the Washington years when asked about the prospect of getting out from under his father’s shadow.

“I’m looking forward to it,” the younger Shanahan said. “I think it’s gonna be nice when I hear the head coach’s last name and ‘S’ isn’t always tagged to the end of it – the Shanahans. So I’m looking forward to that part. But I’ve worked a lot of years in the NFL. I started out my career away from my dad. That was always a goal of mine, to prove myself before I ever coached with my dad….I thought that I HAD proved myself. And it was something I always wanted to do in my life — I wanted to coach with my dad at one time. I enjoyed it. We went through some ups and downs, but it’s something I wouldn’t take back for anything. Excited to move on and be done with that part of my life, but I think it made me better, and it’s something I’m glad that I did.”

Shanahan also discussed the Cleveland quarterbacks, the pistol formation, the zone-read, his fellow assistants and a bunch of other topics. Watch it here.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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