Shanahan defends withholding Griffin from preseason


Mike Shanahan, left, and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan are not second-guessing their handling of Robert Griffin III. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Coach Mike Shanahan defended his decision to withhold quarterback Robert Griffin III from the Washington Redskins’ entire preseason.

Griffin struggled for most of the first three quarters of Monday night’s season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field. But Shanahan said he was pleased to have Griffin healthy and available for the opener.

“I’m glad Robert is going to be with us,” Shanahan said. “I’m hoping he’s going to be with us for a while. Our priority was getting him ready for the season and not put him in there too quick. I think you’d be quite disappointed if he got hurt in the second week of our [training] camp and we’d be talking about, ‘Why did you practice Robert when he might not have been ready to play?’ I think he was ready to play. He looked like he was in pretty good shape. So hopefully we can keep on getting better as an offense and we’ll see if we do.”

Griffin lobbied during the preseason to be allowed to play in an exhibition game. But he said late Monday night he didn’t attribute his play in the opener to a lack of preseason activity.

“I think that’s an excuse,” Griffin said.  “I’m responsible for the way I play. I didn’t play very well in the first half. So that’s just the way it is. You move on from it. I’m not gonna sit here and say I was rusty. I’ve got to be accountable and I’m going to be accountable for that. I didn’t play well in the first half. We came back and played better in the second half. We’ve just got to do it for 60 minutes.”

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 Tuesday.

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo |@MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

What’s ahead:

● The Redskins do not practice on Tuesday, but with the quick turnaround for Sunday at Green Bay and a battle of 0-1 teams with high expectations hoping to avoid 0-2, Alfred Morris and Mike Shanahan will speak with reporters in the afternoon.

More on the Redskins:

Kerrigan might have concussion | Lingering soreness stopped Meriweather

NFL made Griffin hide knee brace | Shanahan defends preseason caution 

For Griffin, a frustrating return to action

The Takeway: Defenseless in opener

Boswell: Eagles leave Redskins stunned and confused

Postgame quotes from live blog | Game summary | More Redskins news

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.

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Mike Jones · September 9, 2013