Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said he didn’t necessarily agree with quarterback Robert Griffin III’s assessment that the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday “knew what was coming” in the passing attack. But Shanahan said he didn’t take the comments as a shot directed at him.
Griffin and Shanahan’s relationship has come under scrutiny at times because of hints of disagreements over play-calling.
Kyle Shanahan said that he had learned of Griffin’s quotes from Sunday, but that unprompted, the quarterback approached him the following day and provided clarity on his intended message.
“You guys make a big deal of it, and it’s understandably so,” Shanahan said referring to the stability of he and Griffin’s relationship. “I totally understand that. But I try not to pay too much attention to quotes because you never really know what someone was trying to say or if they meant what they said. What helped me was Robert did come – and I didn’t ask him to – but he came in and talked to me on Monday about it and tried to clear it up with me and tried to explain what he meant to say, and what he was meaning. Once I heard him and talked with him, I was fine with it and it made sense to me what he told me, and I had no problems with it.”
The Redskins had little success in the passing game during the first half of their loss to the Eagles on Sunday. With the Eagles dropping their linebackers back into coverage to concede the run while creating a more crowded secondary, Griffin struggled to find open receivers.
As a result, the Redskins ran the ball 28 times for 160 yards and attempted just seven passes. Griffin completed four of them for 26 yards and also got sacked three times for a loss of 22 yards.
“They did a good job of scheming us up Griffin said. “They kind of knew what was coming before it was coming and that was disheartening. But like I told the guys, regardless of what’s going on out there, we’re the players and we have to make the plays work, and we just weren’t doing that in the first half.”
Asked for his opinion on the Eagles’ defensive attack, Shanahan said he had a different view.
“I don’t really look at it like that. I’ve been in games where it seems like you can’t do anything, guys are just on you and they’re killing you, and you just have no answers,” he said. “But I definitely didn’t feel like that against Philly. Whenever you have 160 rushing yards in a half, you’re really doing some good things. … We were happy with that, but we didn’t make plays that would’ve put us in the end zone. We had a couple passes where it was pretty obvious they wanted to take away our [play-action passes], and when a team plays soft quarters, our receivers are doubled. When their linebackers don’t step up, our receivers are quadrupled. It doesn’t help with your [play-action passes], but it does help with your run game and I think that’s why we ran for 160 yards.”
Griffin came under further scrutiny when Santana Moss said that the quarterback needed to take better accountability when he didn’t make plays, saying Griffin should just say that as a leader of the team, he should say he hadn’t made a play rather than explaining that wide receivers hadn’t gotten open or that his line hadn’t given him the right protection.
Shanahan said that he has no problem with Griffin’s level of accountability or leadership skills.
“I think he’s been a great leader for us since we’ve been here,” the offensive coordinator said. “He really took us on a run last year and i think he turned into a leader last year. He missed a lot of offseason, so he wasn’t always out there in the huddle and everything. But he was always around and the guys knew he was a leader. I think he’s done a good job. I know we’re going through some adversity and that tests everybody. It tests all the coaches, all the players, not just him, but everybody else in the room. It’s a challenge and it’s something you get better or worse from. I think Robert is going through all that right now, and I think it’s part of the process in making him great.”