NFL

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Shanahan a fibbing snake-oil salesman

  • Print
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan announces RG3 is done for the season.

CP Enlarge Image

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan announces RG3 is done for the season.

ATLANTA -- The Washington You-Know-Whos sure know how to diffuse the debate over their nickname as they head to Atlanta to face the Falcons.

In fact, Dan Snyder and Co. must be preparing us for an impending change.

The Washington Bizarros, anyone?

Coach Mike Shanahan's decision to bench healthy quarterback Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season -- purportedly to make sure he stays that way for Washington's off-season program -- is so strange on so many levels, it's hard to know where to begin.

Are we really supposed to believe Shanahan's explanation that Griffin will benefit more from taking part in scripted drills over the spring and summer than he does from playing three actual games?

Are we really supposed to believe this isn't Shanahan flexing his muscles one last time in a power play he is sure to lose before he is sent packing at the end of a disastrous season?

Are we really supposed to believe anything Shanahan says?

The only thing we know for sure is Washington (3-10) isn't intentionally tanking its final three games just to lock up the top overall pick: The first-round selection in 2014 was dealt to St. Louis as part of the trade to land RG3 in the first place.

The Rams are the only sure winners in this whole fiasco.

"My job is to build this organization the right way," Shanahan said in what might have been the most ludicrous statement of his absurd news conference this week.

"I think," the coach added, somehow maintaining a perfectly straight face, "we've been able to do that."

Now, back to reality.

Washington is right on Houston's heels for the worst record in the NFL and the handling of the quarterback situation -- Kirk Cousins will start the last three weeks -- has made the organization a total laughingstock, the sort of perception Snyder was looking to change when the mercurial owner hired Shanahan almost four years ago and handed him the keys to the franchise.

Granted, Shanahan has done some things to restore a modicum of credibility, which was totally lacking when he arrived due to Snyder's meddling. But the fact remains: Shanahan's record is a lousy 24-37, with one quick exit from the playoffs.

If anything, he's been fully exposed, a guy who built his reputation largely on the good fortune of having John Elway as his quarterback during his early years in Denver.

After winning back-to-back Super Bowls with Elway, Shanahan's record is 115-106, with two division titles and an ugly 1-5 mark in the post-season.

Not terrible. Certainly not greatness.

In a few weeks, Shanahan will surely be fired by Washington. We can all hope that's the last we see of this snake-oil salesman, who pretty much reaffirmed what he is when telling reporters, again trying to persuade them of his reasoning for benching Griffin before his nose grew out of the room; "What I'm trying to do is be as honest as I can. And I don't normally do that."

Since there's no reason to believe anything he's said before -- we'll take that to mean he also stabbed Dan Reeves in the back to land the Broncos job -- we'll just assume that Shanahan benched his quarterback for the same reason he does most things: To make himself look good.

If he had just said he was wrong all along, that Griffin clearly wasn't fully recovered from a devastating knee injury and shouldn't have been playing in the first place, maybe a shutdown would've been seen as a logical move.

Instead, it comes across as Shanahan taking his final swing at Griffin and Snyder. But this wasn't the way to do it, to make this ridiculous gesture simply to show who's in charge.

 

Paul Newberry is a national writer for The Associated Press.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 14, 2013 C7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Dustin Byfuglien reflects on season

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Water lilys are reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- WINTER FILE. Snowboarder at Stony Mountain Ski Hill. November 14, 2006.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What Western Conference teams will emerge from the first round of the NHL playoffs?

View Results

Ads by Google