Mike Wise on Shanahan and Griffin

December 3, 2013

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan, right, and quarterback Robert Griffin III? (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Mike Wise wrote a column this morning that detailed how, in trying to stick by Robert Griffin III, Mike Shanahan might have lost him.

If you missed it, here are some key excerpts:

Why is it hard to outright call for Shanahan’s job? Because of his original reasons for letting Griffin continue to play that day.

The overriding factor, in speaking with people close to Shanahan who spoke freely on the condition they not be named, was that the coach believed Griffin deserved the opportunity to try to win the game and he was afraid to lose Griffin’s trust going forward if he didn’t give him that chance.

The irony is that decision — to let Griffin run around until his right knee ligaments were shredded — did more to undermine trust in Griffin and his family than any My-Way Mike decree to bench him could have.

So in digging through the details of the past, Wise perhaps has found something relevant to right now.

Another excerpt:

The truth: Soon after Griffin’s devastating knee injury last January, Shanahan reached out to the Griffin family. Putting himself in the shoes of Griffin’s parents — knowing he would want the same clarity if it were his child writhing in pain on the ground of FedEx Field in the waning moments of that playoff loss to Seattle and had undergone major knee surgery — the coach merely wanted to explain what led up to the most crucial, in-game, on-the-fly decision of his tenure in Washington.

Shanahan eventually was able to communicate those thoughts — but not before he was originally rebuffed, according to people on both sides with knowledge of last January’s events who spoke on condition of anonymity in interviews over the past three weeks.

Robert Griffin Jr. appreciated the coach’s gesture. But he also felt Shanahan needed to worry strictly about coaching his football team rather than building a stronger bond with his son[.]

If you haven’t seen it already, you might want to read the whole thing.

The decision on whether to bring back Mike Shanahan for a fifth season might well rest on whether you think he and Griffin and Kyle Shanahan can be successful together going forward.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

What’s ahead:

● The Redskins practice at 11:50 a.m. 1 p.m.  Wednesday. Mike Shanahan and Griffin are expected to speak with reporters after practice.

More from The Post:

Mailbag: On Josh LeRibeus, offseason changes and more

Sideline track at FedEx a hazard? | Decision on Maurice Hurt coming today

D.C. Sports Bog: Shanahan and sticking with the run | More

Shanahan defends emotional penalties | NFL: Officials should have stopped game

Five observations from Redskins vs. Giants | Position-by-position review

Redskins beat writer Mike Jones talks about whether Robert Griffin III has any power in determining Mike Shanahan's future and why giving the coach a contract extension would help in signing free agents. (Post Sports Live/The Washington Post)
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