WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says Mike Shanahan is “all-in” in forcing Dan Snyder’s hand into action, by reportedly deciding Griffin will sit the remainder of the season in favor of Kirk Cousins.
A subsequent report indicated Griffin won’t even be on the field on game days – that he’ll be inactive, with Rex Grossman assuming the position of backup to Cousins.
La Canfora sounded off on Shanahan after the news broke, saying it’s now a matter of millionaire vs. billionaire in a high-stakes game of chicken, and deconstructed the entire argument for excusing the Redskins’ head coach of wrongdoing as his tenure spirals down the drain in Washington.
“At this point if you’re all-in, and you’ve raised the ante, you’re not going to fold your cards and just go back to RGIII,” La Canfora said. “You’re going to play Kirk Cousins. You’re going to play this thing out and see if the owner reacts. This is a high-stakes game of chicken. It’s a millionaire and a billionaire going to war. It’s a battle over ego, it’s a battle over power, it’s a battle at the end of the day about money, and Shanahan wanting to keep everything that’s owed him, but I think even for Shanahan it’s about a little bit more than that.”
“This is someone who feels like he has a Hall of Fame candidacy,” La Canfora said. “He feels like he’s built a Hall of Fame resume, who obviously has two Lombardi trophies but, the argument’s always made: What has he done without Elway and Terrell Davis? Not much. What has he done the last decade? Not much. What happened in Denver? They handed him the whole building, it failed; patently mediocre at best. What happened in Washington? Even by Redskins’ standards, this has been a complete abomination of a coaching tenure, and it’s going to go down completely in flames.”
He afforded Shanahan no leniency in this 5-minute video rant aimed at setting the record straight, but rather presented Shanahan recent actions as a measured, highly orchestrated exit strategy.
“It’s clear what he’s trying to do is protect what’s left of his legacy,” La Canfora went on. “‘Nothing to see here. It’s all Dan Snyder’s fault. He’s a terrible owner, doesn’t everybody know that? He meddles. I’m just a poor, innocent head coach.’ Well, don’t buy any of that. The guy had all this set up ahead of time. It was very Machiavellian.”
“He’s out in his place in Mexico getting the pieces in place,” he said of Shanahan when he took the job. “Getting Bruce Allen there to be the De facto general manager, getting $35 million guaranteed to do this job, getting full control over the organization, every facet — what color the drapes are, what color the carpets are, picking the game day roster, picking the 53-man roster, all that is Mike Shanahan. The whole debacle with Donovan McNabb: Mike Shanahan. The idea that he can win with Grossman and Beck: Mike Shanahan. The waving of the white flag in the middle of last season, ‘Oh, we’re playing for next year; you know we’re pretty much done.’ Mike Shanahan.
“All these shenanigans the last few weeks and the leaked stories, and the trying to get out of town now, quick with his money: Mike Shanahan. You can’t have it both ways. Anyone who thinks he’s a shrinking violet who sits in the corner while Dan Snyder berates him and says ‘You must trade six picks for RGIII’ is incredibly naïve, very foolish, and just read the man’s contract.”
“People in that building know just how much control Shanahan had,” La Canfora would go on to say. “People in that building know that nobody was pushing around Mike Shanahan. And people in that building know that it’s hardly a revelation that if the Redskins have a superstar player, the owner might gravitate towards him, and things might get a little bit weird in that regard.”
Shanahan is 24-37 with three games left in his fourth season as the Redskins head coach.