K. Shanahan on RGIII/Morris runs: "Don't care which one does."
A lot has been made recently of the relationship between Robert Griffin III and Redskins’ coaches Mike and Kyle Shanahan. And the questions kept coming Thursday when Kyle Shanahan stepped to the podium for his weekly news conference at Redskins Park.
“Mine and Robert’s relationship is the same as it’s always been,” he said. “Just like you said, outside perception thinks that [the relationship is strained]. I understand how this business works. I understand when you’re not doing well, when you only have three wins, that people are going to pick at stuff. I get that. What I’ve learned since I’ve been here is to make sure that I don’t make perception my reality. I go to work every day just like I always have. I’ll work with Robert every day, just like I did every day last year. Everyone is having a hard time because we’re not winning games.”
Kyle Shanahan added: “I know what happens in [Redskins Park]. I know what my relationship is with Robert. We go to work every day. We’re competitive people but we work together. When he does good, I feel I did good. When he does bad, I feel I have responsibility in that. I think we both have to continue doing better for each other.”
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The latest line of questioning stems from a column by The Washington Post’s Jason Reid that said there's friction and mistrust between Griffin and Kyle Shanahan – and Mike Shanahan is caught in the middle. From Reid's column:
Since late last season, it has been known within the organization that Griffin isn’t happy working with Kyle. Their differences over play-calling resulted in Griffin losing trust in him, Redskins people with knowledge of the situation say, and that can’t help but affect the quarterback’s relationship with the guy who runs the football operation.
Asked Thursday if he believes there is “trust” between the two men, Shanahan said, “Yeah, I would hope so. I think we’ve done some pretty good things together.”
Shanahan also defended his play-calling late last season. In another recent Post column, Mike Wise wrote that the Griffin camp was upset by the play-calling of Kyle Shanahan after it was apparent Griffin was injured in the final games of 2012.
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“When you run the read option, especially in the Dallas game and he doesn’t get hit on them and you pull it when no one is accounted for and go to the sidelines for a 10-yard gain and don’t get hit on it,” Kyle Shanahan said, “I felt pretty good about it. Now if he was getting killed out of it, we were running quarterback runs, where there was no one accounted for, and people are there hitting him, I would feel bad about it.”
He added: “If somebody tells me they are healthy and also doctors tell me somebody’s good enough to go, I don’t sit there and go against what someone is telling me. I believe what I see. That’s why the times he got hurt were actually on pass plays, never on the zone read.”
Shanahan also made reference to a specific play—possibly the oft-replayed fourth-quarter designed run against Seattle where Griffin hobbled to the sideline—and said he asked about the play before calling it.
“I know what people are talking about with the play outside, I called one keeper that got him out of the pocket,” he said. “It was definitely a play I asked about before I called it. I drew it up on the sidelines and do you think we’re capable of doing this? I was told yes, so I ran that play.”
Although Griffin has not been the same player since that fateful afternoon last January, Shanahan reiterated that he has not considered making a change behind center to Kirk Cousins.
“We have two quarterbacks who are very good quarterbacks but there’s no question that Robert is our quarterback,” he said. “So when it comes to what could we be doing with Kirk, that doesn’t enter my mind. Robert is a franchise quarterback. He’s a great quarterback. He’s going to have a hell of a career here. I love coaching him. It’s been fun.”