Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III did his best to sidestep the speculation over the strength of his relationship with Coach Mike Shanahan, and the matter of the coachâ€™s job security. But ultimately, the quarterback expressed confidence in his teamâ€™s coaching staff, and he said that he and Shanahan share the same goals, which makes for â€świnning recipe.â€ť
Shanahan himself also classified his relationship with his quarterback as â€śgood,â€ť despite the fact that they have endured some trying times in their first two seasons together.
Questions about the health of Shanahan and Griffinâ€™s relationship arose in the aftermath of the Redskinsâ€™ playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks last January. The questions have continued to linger. With Shanahan facing an uncertain future as he heads for his third losing record in four seasons and enters the final year of his contract, itâ€™s been speculated that the strength of quarterback and coach relationship could play a factor in Redskins owner Daniel Snyderâ€™s decision to bring Shanahan back.
Griffin on Wednesday was asked for his take on the school of thought that the Redskins should go in a different direction at head coach during the offseason.
â€śI think itâ€™s just everyoneâ€™s going to have an opinion, and itâ€™s going to be an outside opinion,â€ť Griffin said. â€śOnly the people inside â€”Â us, coaches, anybody else in the organization â€”Â know whatâ€™s going on around here. Whenever you have a year like weâ€™re having, sitting at 3-9 when we had higher expectations, people are going to try to sink the ship. And our job is not to focus on that stuff, so Iâ€™m just focused on Kansas City.â€ť
Asked about his confidence in Shanahan and his staff, Griffin said, â€śI think these guys have a great future. I love having them here. Thatâ€™s all I can say. Weâ€™re focusing on Kansas City, and theyâ€™re focusing on Kansas City and thatâ€™s all we can control.â€ť
Itâ€™s no secret that Griffin, Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan have had disagreements about how the quarterback was used during that game against Seattle when he played on a badly injured knee until it eventually gave out.
He and Shanahan also had disagreements on the handling of Griffinâ€™s return to action this past fall, when Shanahan held him out of all preseason action to let his knee have more time to heal.
Shanahan acknowledged that the two have encountered challenges in the last year. But he said that doesnâ€™t mean he and Griffin have a poor relationship.
â€śYou talking about football? You talking about when we go to the local pub and have a beer together? He doesnâ€™t drink,â€ť Shanahan answered initially and then chuckled. â€śBut, seriously, one thing about being a head coach, is you have a relationship with everybody. Itâ€™s not when youâ€™re an assistant coach, because youâ€™re in charge of the football team. But you always try to have a relationship with your quarterback. I think when you take a look at what we did last year, on offense, we were able to do some special things. I think this year, coming back, going through a rehab program with his ACL, his LCL, coming back and fighting through, thereâ€™s always going to be some tough times in that transition. But I think Robertâ€™s got the mindset and heâ€™s tough enough to fight through it and he understands how important an offseason is, and just working hard to get better. So, I think we have a good relationship.â€ť
Shanahan added, â€śI think itâ€™s always been good, yeah. I know, some of the things I read, it hasnâ€™t been good. But I think itâ€™s always been good.â€ť
When asked for his take on the relationship, Griffin didnâ€™t paint it to be great, but said that he and Shanahan do have the same mindset when it comes to the ultimate goal.
Griffin said, â€śI think we have competitors like us, losing can be tough, but at the end of the day, just like when I came in here, me, coach, Kyle, all the rest of the coaches, the rest of the players, we all want to win, and thatâ€™s a winning recipe, whether weâ€™re doing it on the field or not. Thatâ€™s the way I look at it. Weâ€™re all competitors. We all get heated at times, but at the end of the day, we all want to win.â€ť
Asked if the trust between he and Shanahan had improved, Griffin said, â€śAs much as it can in a year-and-a-half and two-year span. I havenâ€™t spent a lot of time here, obviously, and a lot of time in the league, and it takes time to build that trust over time in a coach.â€ť
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at email@example.com with the subject line â€śMailbag questionâ€ť for him to answer it inÂ The MailbagÂ on Tuesdays.
â—Ź More from Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III speaking with reporters after practice.
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