Redskins sources deny latest allegations against Robert Griffin III, father

December 17, 2013

Robert Griffin III remains under scrutiny despite being shut down for the season. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

People within the Washington Redskins organization flatly denied a Bleacher Report story that indicated that quarterback Robert Griffin III has been unreceptive to coaching. The same people refuted the notion that his father, Robert Griffin Jr., has tried to offer input on what direction the team should go in regarding their next head coach.

Tuesday’s report was the latest in a string of reports that have painted Griffin and other members of the Redskins organization in a negative light. People familiar with the situation believe that those leaking the reports remain intent on lowering the public perception of the second-year quarterback, who struggled this season — a year after winning rookie of the year honors, and less than a full year after having reconstructive surgery on his right knee.

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan last week decided to bench Griffin for the remainder of the season, claiming that it was more important for Griffin to have a full, healthy offseason program to work on his development than it was for him to get more game reps. That move came days after Shanahan or someone in his camp was believed by Redskins management to have leaked a report that Shanahan almost quit following the 2012 season because he was unhappy with Griffin’s relationship with owner Daniel Snyder.

The Bleacher Report story alleged attitude problems on Griffin’s part, and described his father as meddlesome.

Multiple sources denied the claim that Griffin had blown off the input of quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur after the assistant pointed out sloppy footwork following an incomplete pass. Two said that LaFleur spends games in the coaches booth and that coaches reserve technique coaching for practices and not games.

Three people — speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation — said that Griffin has always been receptive to LaFleur’s insight and that the two have a good relationship.

Robert Griffin Jr.’s close bond with his son has been well-documented, but two sources refuted the notion that the father had tried to meddle in the affairs of the team. The elder Griffin rarely comes to Redskins Park, and this season had only attended one day of training camp practice and none during the regular season.

Griffin Jr. does attend every game, and earlier this season he drew attention to himself when he came into the Redskins’ locker room to check on his son in fear that he had gotten hurt during the loss to the 49ers.

Griffin Jr. this past offseason lobbied through the media for Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to change the offense to help better protect his son from the risk of injury. But since the season started, he has declined interview requests.

The Bleacher Report story claimed that Griffin Jr. had tried to encourage Snyder to hire Baylor Coach Art Briles, who coached his son in college, as Shanahan’s replacement. But two people with knowledge of the situation said that Griffin Jr. has not had talks with Snyder regarding the head coaching position or any other of the franchise’s issues.

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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Mark Maske · December 17, 2013

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