WASHINGTON- October 1, 2013 — Not a whole lot of sports fans, particularly Washington Redskin fans, want to admit it, but a primary issue with the Washington Redskins is Daniel Snyder, Mike Shanahan, Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins are all standing in their own corners. This issue will not be resolved anytime soon.
The hard truth is the problem began last season when each member of the Redskins organization gave the proverbial 110 percent to win out the last seven games of their schedule by scoring a total of 200 points to their opponents’ 140 to make it into the playoffs. NFL football pundits galore were acknowledging the Redskins’ wave of momentum and winning would probably carry them into the Super Bowl.
The team’s individual and collective efforts were nothing short of remarkably stupendous. They knew what they had to do and gave every ounce of their last blood, sweat and tears making certain they swept the final seven games on their schedule.
In two of the final games, backup quarterback Kirk Cousins came in for RGIII after he hurt his knee. Cousins proceeded to take the Redskins from behind in a game against the Baltimore Ravens, who went on to win the Super Bowl, and defeat them in over- time. Then tCousins helped Washington come back from behind to beat the Cleveland Browns and keep the streak alive.
Cousins has 33 completions in 48 attempts with a quarterback rating of 101.6.
Then came the playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Up by 14 unanswered points, Robert Griffin III again injured his knee, but his time he was beyond just sitting out. The smart move would to have been to put in a proven commodity such as Kirk Cousins who had demonstrated his skill, talent, knowledge of the offense, and tenacity. Obviously, Cousins can start for many NFL teams. He has the chops and as Joe Gibbs would say, he plays “his guts.”
All Cousins had to do was to protect the 14 point lead and put the team deeper into the playoffs. That was not to be the case, however.
In one of the most bizarrely poor coaching decisions in NFL history, Mike Shanahan kept a badly gimping Robert Griffin III in the game. Griffin, who could not run, drop back, scramble, or run the beloved read option. Worse yet, Shanahan claims Griffin said he was fine and could play and that he trusted Griffin in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Shanahan has been around long enough to know better than to take a rookie’s word for it.
Robert Griffin III should have taken himself out of the game knowing the men on this team who struggled so hard and played so strong for the last seven games deserved the best chance to win. Griffin, however, was not thinking of the team as a whole.
Shanahan should have had the guts to also give the team their best chance, but he did not. RGIII was selfish and Shanahan cowardly. Some sports writers are saying Griffin has ingratiated himself into team Owner Daniel Snyder’s graces so deeply, a la Clinton Portis style, that Shanahan trembles at benching him.
This is a shame because Shanahan has made his NFL bones, has all the buttons, trophy’s, awards, and money one man could have and he diminishes himself on national TV by acting cowardly. At his age, all he has left is his reputation and character to support and he is blowing it and leaving a sad spectacle for such a previously successful man. His pride is gone and his cowardice is front and center.
As for Robert Griffin III, if he was a team player, he would have the sportsman-like courtesy, courage and selflessness to let the team go deeper in the playoffs last year, but he did not. RGIII was for RGIII. He had to be the star, the grand poobah, but all he did was join with Shanahan to crush the Redskins’ seven game streak and future potential goals to dust.
Now what? Oh, the Redskins beat the lowly Raiders who played a new quarterback in his first NFL start and the Redskin finally prevailed with a large debt owed to the defense. What is going on now? A continuum of last season.
Robert Griffin III should not be starting and playing every game for the entire game. Griffin never played any pre-season games so he is as rusty as the Titanic’s bulkhead.
To give the hard fighting team the best chance to win, Cousins should be taking snaps, but since there is no talk of an extension on Shanahan’s contract, he is again trembling at benching Griffin to Snyder’s disapproval.
Once again, Griffin thinks he is the only man on the team that can place the Redskins in a winning position-the same statement he made after the Seahawks game last year.
The offense designed for Griffin cannot be run in its entirety and once again, the Redskins are a losing team.
How do the players other than Griffin feel about working so hard just to lose the same bad decisions from the previous season? Does anybody really think the remaining players are going to give it their all just to be beaten from their me first quarterback and cowardly lion coach?
Is ex-Dallas Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman correct when he says Griffin may go the way of Patrick Ramsey and hear footsteps approaching in his sleep? Is ex-Redskin Joe Theisman correct in saying Griffin is “gaining momentum” and if so, what does this mean and at what cost to the team? Gaining momentum for what? A .500 season?
As great a chance as the Redskins have to ride to the top of the NFL East this year, as long as there is drama between the man with no plan Dan, “I don’t think I can” Shanahan and “Look at me, I’m RGIII,” the best leader to run the read option is holding a clipboard.
Send in Sonny.
Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based writer and psychotherapist
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