Shanahan’s Press Conference
For years I’ve heard about the lengths Mike Shanahan would go through to say everything but the truth to the media in a plan to not tip his hand on anything football related. Life-long Denver Bronco fans who love Shanny to this day will tell you that much of what the man who brought their town two Superbowls says is questionable and he has one of the biggest ego’s in the entire NFL. NFL analyst Mark Schlereth, a former Washington Redskins and Broncos player spoke about his former coach today on ESPN’s “First Take” saying, “The guy has one of the biggest ego’s in the history of the league.”
Keeping that in mind, the Shanahan press conference today was an eye-opening event as the coach, currently on the hot seat, admitted to things and spoke in his words, “more open and honest than usual.”
Shanahan pointed towards the injury in the Seattle game as reasoning for wanting to bench Robert Griffin III.
After an injury happens, it’s too late. Just like the Seattle game at halftime. I could have kicked myself in the rear end. Because my gut was even though the doctor said, hey, he was fine, it was all stable, you don’t have to worry. Robert said it was fine. I knew, in my gut. I watched him. I said, hey, that’s what I should have done, because I did see it. You have to go with your gut sometimes.
I can go with my gut, and I should have went with my gut, but I thought he had earned the right to play, because he convinced me he was okay. But I think in long terms — because we’re talking about honesty right here — it cost us the game. Because the guy that goes in could play at a certain level. So not only did it hurt Robert, but it hurt us from winning the game.
That was officially the first time Shanahan publicly admitted that he was at least in part to blame for the injury to Griffin late in the 4th quarter after RG3 clearly tweaked his knee following a touchdown pass in the first half (that put the Redskins up 14-0).
Shanahan went on…
I talked to Dan Snyder about this, because that’s what you do about a quarterback. He’s your franchise. That’s why you ask those questions. You don’t do it about the other positions. Dan could care less about the other positions. I do ask it about a quarterback, because we’re going to have a circus atmosphere any time you make a decision like that. Somebody said the reason why you’re going with Kirk is you’re trying to get fired and get a year left on your contract. If I’m trying to get fired, I’m not going to call up Dan Snyder and ask his opinion on a player that I don’t have to!
When Shanahan was asked why he felt the need to be more and open and honest than ever before he replied:
What I’m trying to do is be as honest as I can. And I don’t normally do that, because I don’t really think it’s anybody’s business, except the guys in our locker room. And I don’t get into a lot of detail. But here I think it’s a must.
Shanny was asked what message this sends to the rest of the locker room:
Well, the locker room is if you’re a franchise quarterback and you miss the second season, it’s, ‘We’re going to protect you.’ I do believe that Kirk Cousins will come in and play well. He is a proven quarterback I believe, at least from what we’ve seen when he’s played. I don’t think it’s worth the risk for the future of this organization to put him in there. You can take any position and you say, ‘Hey, that position doesn’t need an offseason like a quarterback.’ I don’t care if you’re talking about outside linebacker, inside linebacker, corner, offensive lineman. What’s critical to the development of the quarterback is, at least in my opinion, that second- and third-year offseason. He didn’t have the second, I don’t want to take the chance on the third.
I understand what direction you’re trying to take this, but I’m honestly trying to tell you, man-to-man, we made a decision that I think is the best for Robert. We’re dealing with somebody that’s young, wants to be in there — I would be disappointed if Robert did not want to be in there with his teammates. I mean, I’d be the most disappointed guy. I’d be the most disappointed guy in myself if he played in the last three weeks and had an ACL or an LCL and it set him off for his second year in a row with no offseason program. That would be devastating to him, as well as the organization.
Asked if he thinks the offensive line is where it needs to be in terms of protecting the quarterbacks:
It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter where it’s at. You’ll see as time goes on — is it the offensive line? Is it the quarterback? Is it the receivers? There’s a combination of different things and I don’t get into detail, but at the end of the day you’re always trying to improve your football team. I think when you take a look at the year before, when we’re the No. 1 offense in the National Football League — for every time the ball’s snapped we had more yards rushing and more yards passing — that’s pretty good with a bad offensive line, isn’t it? I mean, how many teams with a bad offensive line, a horrible offensive line, are No. 1 in passing and rushing per attempt? I haven’t been around any. So, there are some good things about our offensive line.
Asked if he considered quitting last season, as claimed by a media report:
What I said is there’s always bits and pieces of an article that are true. I’m not going to go into detail what was true about the article. I don’t think it’s fair to the organization and I would speak to that person first before I would speak to anybody else. But when you get partial truths – and I’m not one to say somebody is lying or this isn’t reported correctly – but I’ve heard that my whole life. I think everybody in this room knows that I don’t talk to anybody off the record. I don’t, and if you do, you say, ‘Hey, what’s wrong with him?’ We’ve all had lunches together back in camp and you guys know that I’m not going to tell you anything. It’s not my job, because once you tell it to somebody, he tells it to somebody and it spreads. That’s me. I got that from coaching. I can’t get the respect from Grant over here if I’m talking to Joe and vice [versa] – ‘Oh, he’s talking to me and he’s not talking to me.’ I can’t go down that road.
Shanahan was asked if he would be returning next season:
That’s Dan’s decision at the end of this year. I don’t know about next year until I sit down with Dan. Then we’ll find out what I think, and I’ll give him my opinions, and he’ll give me his opinions. Maybe we’ll just hit it off and I get that 12, 15-year contract. Well, maybe three years. But anyway, whatever it is.
The press conference went on for some 28 minutes (the longest Mike Shanahan presser since he’s been in Washington) and Shanny appeared defensive at times, the full video is below.