The friendship between Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher was well-documented this past spring as the two teams pulled off the trade that made Washington’s acquisition of Robert Griffin III possible. But Fisher, whose Rams host the Redskins Sunday, said that friendship didn’t play a part in the deal between the two teams.
In March, the Redskins sent the sixth overall pick and their second-round pick (39th overall) in the 2012 draft, plus first-round picks in 2013 and 2014 to St. Louis to secure the second overall selection in the 2012 draft. The Redskins used that pick to take Griffin.
Washington faced competition from the Cleveland Browns in their pursuit of the draft choice, and shortly after the trade, Browns president Mike Holmgren told reporters that he believed the relationship between Shanahan and Fisher – who both were former assistants in San Francisco in the early 1990s – gave the Redskins the edge.
Speaking to Redskins beat writers in a teleconference Wednesday, Fisher denied such claims.
“It didn’t have anything to do with it,” Fisher said. “There’s a personal side to a relationship and there’s a business side and this was a business deal that we thought was in the best interest of both clubs.”
The Rams took the sixth pick they obtained from Washington and traded it to Dallas for the 14th and 45th overall picks in the draft. They took defensive tackle Michael Brockers out of LSU with the 14th pick and cornerback Janoris Jenkins with the 39th pick. They traded that 45th pick to Chicago for the 50th pick (running back Isaiah Pead) and a fifth-round pick.
It may take some time to see exactly how well the Rams made out in the trade, but Fisher feels good about his team’s decisions and the future depth and talent the moves will produce.
Fisher this week has been breaking down Griffin’s performance as he and his defensive coaches try to find a way to hold the quarterback and Washington’s offense in check. He, like everyone else who watched Griffin play, came away impressed.
“What a terrific debut. Very, very impressive. As people are saying, it’s historical,” Fisher said. “He did a great job with accuracy and poise, made plays with his legs and has a good grasp of the offense. There were a lot of things obviously offensively that have been worked on in the offseason and the preseason that weren’t shown in the preseason games. It became very productive and effective for him.”
Fisher said that he studied Griffin some leading up to the draft, but not extensively. He said that at that time, and again on Sunday, he saw why the Redskins coveted the quarterback so greatly.
“First off, in Mike’s quest to acquire RGIII, he thought all along that defenses can’t defend for those dynamics,” Fisher said. “Basically, he’s right. You create – if you’re lucky, you create defensively – a one-on-one situation with the quarterback, and with his athletic ability, usually he wins that.
“We’re going to have a long week. It’s not easy,” Fisher later said when asked how to defend Griffin. “But we coach, too, and we’ve put together the start of a defensive plan that we think is going to allow us to be successful, and you have to hang your hat on that, and you have to work and understand that you can’t simulate a lot of things they do on the practice field.”