When it became apparent that the Redskins were going to have a new coach that year, the conventional wisdom was that anyone who might consider taking the job would do some thorough checking in to what went wrong in the relationship between Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan. It was presumed that the new coach would find out as much as possible about when and why things went south both before and after getting the job.
But it appears that Jay Gruden wasn’t really concerned about what went on before he entered Redskins Park. In an interview with Dan Hellie of the NFL Network, Gruden indicated that he hasn’t dug into it too much.
“I don’t know what happened last year with Coach [Mike] Shanahan and him, and where the relationship went south, or if it did, or maybe the media blew it up,” he said. “But [Shanahan] is obviously not here anymore and now it’s my job to get the most out of Robert.”
This is the smart approach. Very few people knew exactly what happened between head coach and quarterback last year and all but one of them, Griffin, is gone. Gruden could have spent some time talking to people, all of whom caught a snippet here and there of the situation. He could have spent a whole bunch of time chasing after pieces of a puzzle knowing all the time that he’d never find them all.
Or he could forget about it, get to work, and not try to deal with Griffin based on what had happened in the past. He could start fresh and decide to figure out his relationship with his quarterback without any preconceived notions.
Gruden has chosen to start with a blank slate. As he said, it’s his job to get the most out of Griffin and leaving the quarterback’s baggage in the past is the best way get that done.