Shanahan, Griffin said, “gave me his word. We talked about it. I know the plan. I’m not telling the whole plan because he doesn’t want the whole plan known. I understand that as well. But I don’t understand the whole plan at all. I can’t lie about that. When you give your word to somebody, that’s all you have, so I’m just banking that they’re gonna stay true to their word and I’m staying true to mine.”
He added, “I’m doing everything that they ask me to do without any gripes — I mean, other than with you guys — and that’s the way you’ve got to do it.”
Hours after Griffin spoke, Shanahan outlined a more cautious workout approach, reiterating that Griffin would not play in the preseason. Shanahan said he expects Griffin to be ready for the regular season opener Sept. 9 unless he suffers a setback in his recovery from reconstructive knee surgery.
While Griffin and Shanahan both took pains to say they were in broad agreement over the quarterback’s rehabilitation, Monday’s comments were the most direct display of what appears to be a lack of consensus between the two over Griffin’s recovery timetable.
Griffin on Monday morning received more time with the first-team offense than he has had during the previous two weeks of training camp, then took his usual 17 snaps in seven-on-seven during the afternoon practice. Afterward, Griffin said Monday would be the last day in which his practice time would be limited and that Shanahan’s plan called for him to face a full defense Tuesday.
“I look forward to it. I’ve been ready for it. It’s just a matter of time,” Griffin said. “Their job is to make sure that I’m ready. My job is to make sure that I’m ready, too. So I did everything that I can to make sure that no matter what happens, I’m ready to go.”
But Shanahan said in his news conference following the afternoon practice that Saturday’s rained-out practice forced him to push back Griffin’s participation in full-team drills to Wednesday. This differed from Saturday, when Shanahan said the scrapped practice would not alter the plan for how he handled the quarterback.
“Initially, tomorrow’s practice was going to be like a normal Wednesday, Thursday, Friday during the season. But with us not practicing Saturday, Saturday’s was today, and” Tuesday is Monday, the coach said.
Asked how that impacted Griffin’s workload, Shanahan explained: “He’ll take a couple reps Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in each period. [Tuesday] will be the same as he’s been.”
The modification of the plan represented a continuation of what Griffin has described as the most frustrating part of his recovery. Held out of team drills during the offseason, the quarterback received clearance from orthopedist James Andrews in late July to return to practices once training camp got underway.
But Shanahan opted to keep Griffin on a limited snap count, restricting him to individual drills and eight seven-on-seven plays. A week later, that activity increased to 17 snaps in seven-on-seven action. Griffin has lobbied both publicly and privately for an increase in activity, but Shanahan has held fast to his plan, much to the quarterback’s dismay.
Shanahan chuckled when asked about Griffin’s stance on not liking or understanding his plans.
“That’s my job, not to necessarily do what he likes but to do what’s the best thing for him and this organization,” Shanahan said. “My job is to get him ready for the first game, and that’s what we’re hoping we can do. Without a setback, I believe he will be ready for the first game. And I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that there is no setback and we can have him for the first game of the season. But if there is a setback, then we’ll have to adjust accordingly.”
At the time that Shanahan stood at the podium sharing the modified timeline, Griffin still was out taking his laps around the practice field, signing autographs for fans. It wasn’t clear whether the quarterback had been informed of the decision, and he wasn’t available to reporters following Shanahan’s news conference.
Monday morning, however, Griffin explained that while he understood Shanahan’s responsibility to protect him and still respected his coach, he wished that Shanahan had some flexibility.
“Basically, the parts that I don’t understand is that it’s been fixed,” Griffin said. “The rehab process — my reintegration into the team — have been fixed without any aspect of how I’m doing personally with my knee, with my knee surgery, with my rehab. It’s predetermined, and that’s the one thing I don’t understand. But, like Coach said — he’s 100 percent right — I don’t have to understand it. I don’t have to like it. But at the end of the day, if he plays me Week 1, and I’m ready to go, then I’ll give him a salute and I’ll go play my butt off for him.”
The ‘if’ regarding Week 1 doesn’t exist in Griffin’s mind, however.
“There is no doubt that I’m playing Week 1. That is just the way I feel about it,” he said. He admitted he’d like a few preseason snaps, although he didn’t expect Shanahan to concede on that front.
Shanahan confirmed Griffin’s suspicions, saying “no possibility,” when asked if Griffin could talk his way into preseason games. Andrews had recommended he not play until the regular season, and Shanahan believes it better to err on the side of caution.
“I could bring Robert back three weeks ago. We could’ve been sitting here right now, been practicing two, three weeks ago and all of a sudden something happens to the ACL, and we’re sitting saying, ‘Maybe you should’ve waited an extra week or two.’ I know when the first game is, and I have to do what I think gives him the best chance to be ready for the first game, with the proper reps, the proper practice plan. I like competitors, though. The great ones do that. The great ones want to practice, want to play.”