Washington Redskins: How Real Is the Beef Between Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III?

By Scott Eby
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins have almost, if not already, reached the level of the New York Jets as far as media scrutiny.

For whatever reason, we have to listen Jets head coach Rex Ryan defend his hopelessly mediocre football club everyday on ESPN like it’s a royal baby update, and that is also certainly becoming the case with Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan regarding his relationship with his quarterback, Robert Griffin III.

At least the Redskins are (now) mired in relevancy, unlike the Jets.

As always, the result of heightened media scrutiny is the propensity to make up stories that aren’t even there. This is becoming the case with the frantic obsession with Shanahan’s relationship with Griffin.

Sure, their relationship is growing and evolving. Sure, it might not be all sunshine and daisies, but that doesn’t mean Shanahan doesn’t want what’s best for Griffin, and it doesn’t mean Griffin hates and blames Shanahan for his injury.

Griffin should not have been on the field during last season’s playoff game between the Redskins and Seattle Seahawks once it was abundantly clear in the first quarter that Griffin’s knee was worsening. That’s a mistake from both the head coach and the player.

It is certainly justifiable to dissect Shanahan’s handling of Griffin’s injuries throughout last season, as it is with every decision any head coach makes regarding his team. However, the media has turned Griffin’s comments about returning to play, which are rooted in his desire to exude warrior-like leadership, into some non-existent, high school-like drama between quarterback and coach.

It’s been evident since his draft day that Griffin, son of two military parents, is out to earn his stripes as a leader. Therefore, when he makes comments about holding Shanahan to his word about playing in Week 1, and about how it’s his job to nag Shanahan into letting him play in the preseason, it’s all a show for his teammates and a reflection of his competitive spirit.

It is not Griffin trying to undermine the team by promoting a “beef” with his head coach. Leaders don’t do that, which means Griffin wouldn’t do that.

So, as much fun as it can be to watch the media ravage a storyline, there just isn’t much here. Griffin is the classic “put me in, coach” quarterback, and Shanahan is the classic bull-headed football coach. Both of them have an intense desire to win, and that’s been the root of this whole saga.

What the majority of the sports media apparently doesn’t know is that Shanahan and Griffin are acutely aware of each other’s competitive spirit, and the mutual respect from that is all that is needed for their relationship to flourish.

Scott Eby is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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