The Washington Redskins enter play on Sunday with a dismal 3-9 record and are essentially playing out the string for the rest of the season. It’s no doubt been a disappointing year for a team that captured the NFC East title last season.
Whenever any team in sports suffers through a horrific season, finger-pointing becomes suddenly in vogue. For the Redskins, that form is dissension points directly at the owner, Dan Snyder.
According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, Shanahan was ready to walk out on his team just before they got ready to play in last year’s wild card game. Graziano cited a source who claimed that Shanahan was very upset at the fact that Snyder was displaying favoritism towards starting quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Griffin, drafted by the Redskins in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, has apparently received preferential treatment from Snyder that greatly irked Shanahan. Graziano’s source revealed that Snyder regularly gave Griffin a complete security team whenever Griffin ventured out and about in the Washington area. In addition, Snyder dispatched his car and driver to pick up Griffin’s then-fiance and drive her to road games.
The source gave one specific instance when Snyder approached Griffin after a game late last season. Griffin had been injured in the game and was replaced by backup quarterback Kirk Cousins. It was Cousins, not Griffin, who led the Redskins to an important 38-21 victory over the Cleveland Browns in their march to win the division title. Yet Snyder lavished his praise on Griffin after the game while barely even acknowledging the existence of Cousins.
For any head coach, this type of behavior displayed by a team owner goes completely against what they preach to their players. That message is that all players are treated equally, and no one player is above anyone else.
Apparently, that message is lost on Snyder when it comes to gushing over his star quarterback.
Graziano reported that Shanahan was ready to walk away from his job and the remainder of his contract at the end of the regular season. However, when Griffin got hurt in the playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, Shanahan did an about-face, not wanting to quit for fear that his players and Redskins fans might have thought he was using Griffin’s injury as an excuse.
Now, with the team floundering and no hope whatsoever for a playoff berth, the issue has come to light.
Shanahan has one year remaining on his five-year deal. At this point, he has three options. He can opt to remain as coach for one more season, walk away like he almost did last year, or possibly get fired.
With this story now seeing the light of day, it seems almost an impossibility that Shanahan will be coaching in the nation’s capital next season.
And who could really blame him? If what Graziano and ESPN say is true, then Snyder’s actions take away Shanahan’s ability to effectively manage his team. It’s a little difficult to treat your quarterback the same way as everyone else on the roster when the owner himself is guilty of favoritism.
The Redskins have enough problems to deal with, and this particular distraction won’t help. Griffin’s play has suffered this season as he deals with his recovery from a torn ACL, and he’s taken his share of hits for the way he has handled his poor play as well. Now, with this revelation, Griffin and Snyder will definitely have some explaining to do.
As for Shanahan, look for him to be gone at the end of the season. There is now way he survives the backlash of this particular piece of drama.