ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — Mike Shanahan bristled as he spoke to the media for the first time since a decision was made to bench Robert Griffin III for the remainder for the season.
Shanahan said the decision to start Kirk Cousins for the final three games of the season was made after consulting team owner Daniel Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen.
The coach, who is widely rumored to be on his way out of the organization, said Cousins would not be the starting quarterback if Snyder and Allen weren’t 100 percent behind the decision.
“I thought it was very important to include (Snyder. I told him) ‘Hey, this is your guy of the future. What do you want to do?,'” Shanahan said. “It’s easy to say after somebody gets hurt to say take him out.”
At multiple points during the press conference Shanahan said the decision was made with the best interest of the team in mind. If the quarterback were to suffer another crippling injury, the result would be catastrophic for Griffin according to the coach.
“What would be devastating to him, which he doesn’t realize at this time,” Shanahan said, “is that if he did get hurt in the next three weeks and miss the whole offseason again with some type of knee injury, the chances of coming back to be would be very, very tough. I didn’t want to put him in that position.”
Shanahan said he began discussing the idea of transitioning to Cousins with Snyder and Allen prior to last Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He cited the number of sacks (24) the Redskins have surrendered over the past five games as the source of his concern for Griffin’s health.
However, Shanahan felt it was okay to green-light Griffin against Kansas City as the Chiefs had just two sacks in the five outings leading up to last weekend.
Andy Reid’s squad got to the Redskins quarterback five times during the lowly attended snow game.
“Dan thought about it and talked to Bruce about it and at the end of the day we felt the best thing to do for Robert was to not play him so he could go into the offseason,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan denied the quarterback change was made in an attempt to get fired with one season remaining on a five-year contract.
“If somebody said ‘Hey, the reason you’re going with Kirk is you’re trying to get fired and you have a year left on your contract,’ I’m not trying to get fired,” Shanahan said. “I’m not going to call up Dan Snyder and ask his opinion on a player I don’t have to. And if he says ‘no,’ I’m not going to go that direction.”
The coach’s contract reportedly is worth $7 million per season.
Shanahan confirmed Griffin will be inactive for the remainder of the season.
Click ‘play’ below to listen to reports from Grant Paulsen.