Up is down. Down is up. Congress is giving it 110 percent and Dick Cheney is a champion of civil rights. That’s the world we live in now that Robert Griffin III has been benched by Mike Shanahan for the final three games of the 2013 season to preserve him for 2014. If it were for his poor performance that would make sense, but he actually hasn’t been terrible. He’s been subpar by his own rookie standards. The problem is that this is bass ackwards. The time to bench Griffin was last season after he injured his right knee during a game-winning drive against the Baltimore.
Donovan McNabb should be charging for tarot card readings because while everyone labeled him a hater last spring when he warned Griffin, the Redskins’ young quarterback is learning the hard lesson firsthand by becoming the scapegoat for Shanahan’s follies.
It’s unclear what Shanahan’s game is here. Sure, Griffin has made basic mistakes on rudimentary throws, but his worst performances have come against the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs juggernaut defenses.
Against the New York Giants in Week 12, he completed 75 percent of his attempts and was driving the offense down the field for the game-winning drive before Pierre Garcon fumbled the fourth down conversion following the infamous phantom first down conversion.
Before you start labeling creaky old RGIII a bust, I’ll give you a few names. Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton were all quarterbacks who, at one time or another, were being nominated for permanent clipboard holder status. A late surge to the playoffs and his first Super Bowl during the 2007 season saved Manning’s career in New York from the brink of death. Philip Rivers was drafted to blow the early stink of 25-year-old Drew Brees off San Diego’s coast. Young Ben Roethlisberger would have been skewered if he had to throw to keep pace with the offenses scorching the Steelers defense as Griffin is in Washington.
Just this October, Football Night in America’s Rodney Harrison wanted to bench Cam Newton.
However, based on what’s been observed over the last two years, it’s become painfully apparent that Griffin was never the quarterback Shanahan desired. That was Kirk Cousins. Before that, it was Christian Ponder and Jake Locker. According to Stephen A. Smith’s sources, Shanahan was infatuated with Ryan Tannehill before the 2012 Draft.
That disconnect may have attributed to the fractured relationship that played out in code words through the media between Griffin (his dad) and Mike’s son, Kyle, Washington’s offensive coordinator. Shanahan knows what he’s doing. He’s angling to get fired and receive his 2014 base pay without coaching a down next season.
Griffin is only 23. He still has much to learn and flaws to correct. Peep the leap that Cam Newton has made in his third season. Shanahan is set in his ways at 61. He wasn’t afraid to challenge Albert Haynesworth’s manhood, bench McNabb during the two minute drill against Detroit in 2010 for Rex Grossman and now he’s directed his sights toward Dan Snyder. He played chicken with Griffin’s knee last season and he’s doing it again by sabotaging his locker room status on his way out of Redskins Park. Shanahan has to go. Preferably, now rather than later.