The RedskinsGab Staff is pleased to welcome the contribution from guest writer Dash Kannan:
Coming off the expected announcement that Kirk Cousins will be starting the final three games of the 2013-2014 season for the Washington Redskins (I’ll use the name, thank you very much), with the team floundering at 3-10 following the debacle against the Chiefs, I feel like the following recap is necessary.
In 14 years of Dan Snyder’s tenure as owner of the Redskins there have been seven coaches; There is likely going to be an eighth after the 2013-2014 season ends. The Redskins, spearheaded by the “All In Campaign” aimed at Robert Griffin III starting Week 1 after his ACL tear and their first NFC East division title in 14 years, were predicted by many to be a Super Bowl contender. Jason Reid, of the Washington Post, picked the Redskins to go 12-4 and win the division. Many of his media counterparts in the DMV had very similar predictions, and just like their predictions, many are wrong on this situation as well.
But with yet another season comprising double-digit losses in hand, we’re again spending more time pointing fingers at who’s to blame for this historically bad 2013 season that, unmercifully, still has three more games left.
Traditionally, you could ask anyone around the league or even anyone who follows the NFL to a certain extent, and they would tell you Dan Snyder is a meddlesome owner who, in the past, has had troublingly-close relationships with players like Clinton Portis and Lavar Arrington, among others. For years, all we read in the newspapers and all we heard on the radio is that Snyder needs to stop being so friendly with the players, and that his interjections and personal relationships undermine the stability and credibility of this organization.
So the easy argument would be that the apparently meddlesome Snyder (something I’d debate, but that’s for another day) is again dipping his hands into the RGIII pot. It’s entirely possible that Griffin likely could’ve gotten the go-ahead from Snyder himself, in Training Camp and during other offseason activities, to continuously lobby the coaching staff to play Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. Does that really sound impossible, considering the number of jerseys RGIII sold for Snyder last season?
For the sake of argument, if that really were the case, then there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with what Mike Shanahan is doing right now.
The unreal expectations built by fans and the media buying in to the RGIII “Kool Aid” are long gone, and likely replaced with the plainly evident fact that Griffin is just not the same player he was last year. Any avid Redskins fans can tell you that RGIII still looks to throw to his primary read, rolls out of the pocket, and then looks to run, as opposed to Russell Wilson, the Seattle Seahawks star who was drafted two rounds after Griffin, who has shown a great ability to find receivers downfield while out of the pocket.
At Baylor University, under head coach Art Briles (who, for the record, would be a horrible hire as head coach of the Redskins), RGIII’s receivers did not have a route tree. Coming from that simple of an offense requires RGIII to put in the mental reps and the work to learn a complicated NFL offensive system. The development of RGIII as a passer is still painfully necessary, even if he, “RG2” (Griffin’s father), and the burgundy and gold faithful don’t want to acknowledge its truest extent.
For a kid who was raised in a military family (Griffin’s father served in Iraq), RGIII sure has problems listening to authority. From pressing Shanahan to let him come back against Baltimore after getting hit by Haloti Ngata, lobbying to start against Cleveland, lying to Shanahan about the extent of his injury against Seattle, and then undermining his head coach publicly in the offseason just to fulfill an advertising campaign and start Week 1, RGIII and his camp have shown that he has been enabled by someone to make him look like “the good guy,” instead of the quarterback who has is not the same guy he was this time last year.
For a city that has clamored for continuity, stability, and doing things the right way from its football team, it’s shocking to see so many bash Mike Shanahan for his handling of the RGIII situation, given the regression of his quarterback.
We’ve heard over the past several years from the DC media, especially during the Shanahan-Albert Haynesworth, spat that no one player was greater than the team. The same applies here: RGIII is not greater than the team. This is not about Cousins. This is about the Washington Redskins.
In terms of game management, the head coach makes the final decision. If any of you were undermined at your job by your underlings and there were no repercussions from upper management, wouldn’t you plan an exit strategy? Wouldn’t you want out of the job? Wouldn’t you try to save face by limiting the impact that said underlings had? Yes, you would, and that is exactly what Mike Shanahan did.