John Keim | ESPN.com
ASHBURN, Va. — It’s the most scrutinized relationship in Washington — and perhaps the most important. And it’s one both sides portray as a working one. But as the Redskins‘ season unwinds, the relationship between coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Robert Griffin III will garner more attention.
Amid more reports about the nature of the relationship, Griffin initially danced around a question about his reaction to fans demanding organizational changes.
But when he was asked a follow-up question as to his opinion on the coaches and their future, Griffin said, “These guys have a great future. I love having them here and that’s all I can say. We’re focused on Kansas City, they’re focused on Kansas City and that’s all we can control.”
Meanwhile, Shanahan classified their relationship as “good.”
“I know some of the things I read, it’s not always that good, but I’ve always felt that it’s been good,” Shanahan said.
It’s been a constant topic since the offseason when it became apparent that Griffin was displeased with how he was handled upon his return from a torn lateral collateral ligament at the end of last season.
Now that the Redskins are 3-9 and there are questions about Shanahan’s job security, there will be more questions. But the questions also focus on the relationship between Griffin and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, which has been described as rocky. All of this could factor into owner Dan Snyder’s decision as to whether or not he should retain Mike Shanahan and his staff.
“Whenever you have competitors like us, losing can be tough,” Griffin said. “But at the end of the day, just like when I came in here, me, coach, Kyle, all the coaches and all the players we all want to win. That’s a winning recipe whether you’re doing it on the field or not. That’s the way I look at it. We’re all competitors. We all get heated at times. But at the end of the day we all want to win.”
One word popped up often in the offseason surrounding Griffin and the coaches: trust. And when it comes to trust, Griffin said they have “as much as it can develop in a year-and-a-half, two-year span. I haven’t spent a lot of time here, obviously. I haven’t spent a lot of time in the league. It takes time to build that trust over time with a coach anytime.”
When asked about his reaction to calls for change, Griffin said, “Everyone’s going to have an opinion and it’s an outside opinion. Only the people that are inside — us, coaches, anybody else in the organization — knows what goes on around here. Whenever you have a year like we’re having, sitting at 3-9 when we had higher hopes and higher expectations, people are going to try to sink the ship. Our job is not to focus on that stuff.”
Shanahan said a coach always wants a relationship with his quarterback. He pointed out what the Redskins did as an offense last season with Griffin as a rookie, leading the NFL in yards per play.
“This year coming back, going through a rehab program with his ACL, his LCL and fighting through it, there’s always going to be some tough times in that transition,” Shanahan said. “But Robert’s got the mindset where he’s tough enough to fight through it and he understands how important an offseason is and just working hard to get better and better. So I think we’ve got a good relationship.”
- Covered the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and other media outlets since 1994
- Authored or co-authored three books on the Redskins and one on the Cleveland Browns