Mike Shanahan doesn’t often get terribly reflective about the big picture with media members: his career, his family, the meaning of football to Washington D.C., the first taste of Comte, stuff like that.
ESPN Radio’s Scott Van Pelt made some valiant efforts during a recent interview, asking Shanahan what it was like to work in a market currently convulsed by an incessant thirst for Robert Griffin III material.
“Well Scott, to be honest with you, I don’t really pay a lot of attention,” Shanahan said. (Listen here.) “I don’t listen to the radio. You come to work, you’ve got a game plan, you’re doing what you need to do from a football perspective, and that’s what we do. But I understand how important football is here. They’ve got a lot of talk shows and a lot of differences of opinion. But at the end of the day, it’s your job to kind of keep cool, calm and collected as much as you can, and really focus on the job at hand. And that’s trying to make your football team a little bit better.”
We do have a lot of talk shows, don’t we? More than Denver had, back in the day? I’m not sure, but Van Pelt attempted to go there, too, asking Shanahan to compare the RGIII furor with that faced by John Elway.
“I know it was crazy when John first got in,” Shanahan said. “Everything they did — including Halloween candy — they made a report on it. How much he tipped in restaurants. It was just kind of overwhelming, and it’s the same thing here. Any time you get a top quarterback, the first pick or the second pick, there’s going to be a lot of attention. And I think Robert’s handled it well — as well as John did.”
Shanahan was also asked if he gets frustrated by media discussions about his offense putting Griffin at risk.
“Well I think people will see in time that when you use something like that, you’re really going to help the quarterback, to protect him even more,” Shanahan said. “I think when you take a look at the whole season, there’s gonna be some videos where your quarterback’s taking a shot. And you’re saying ‘Hey, do you slide, do you throw the football away?’ I think that’s part of experience for a quarterback. Being around John Elway or Steve Young, you learn how to slide, you learn when to throw the football away. And I think that comes with experience, and I think Robert will do a great job in the future of protecting himself.”
And finally, Shanahan was asked whether he’s having more fun now than he was two years ago.
“I knew it was going to be rough,” he said. “You could see coming in that we were an older football team, we didn’t have a lot of draft choices, there was gonna be some tough decisions that we had to make. And that’s part of rebuilding a football team. I really enjoyed the rebuilding process. I feel very good about our football team right now. We’ve got a young football team, we’ve got a lot of draft choices, we’ve got some young free agents, and I’m very optimistic about our future.”
Of course, back in 2011, Shanahan wasn’t too into that R word, telling reporters “I’m not even sure what you mean by rebuilding.”