WASHINGTON — Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and coach Jay Gruden at least appear to be on the same page heading into their second season together.
There were times in 2014 when the tension between them was clearly presented for all to see, most notably when Gruden publicly reminded Griffin of his place in the pecking order after the QB called out his teammates following a blowout loss to Tampa Bay.
Last week, former Redskins employee Chris Russell, who covered the team for six seasons, told 106.7 The Fan Gruden was “at his wits’ end” with Griffin after the team’s first preseason game against New England last year, and “wanted nothing to do with Robert.”
Around the time Griffin was benched, after Week 12, Russell says is when a rumor surfaced inside Redskins Park that team owner Daniel Snyder had called Gruden’s agent to complain his client was “stealing money.”
On the radio again last Friday, Russell wanted to make clear he was standing by his reporting. “At least one person continues to tell me that Jay is still in no way, shape or form a fan, a supporter, a believer, a truster in Robert Griffin III,” he told The Junkies.
Russell also partially revealed one of his sources to be a coach on Gruden’s staff, saying, “A coach came up to me on his own — a coach on Jay Gruden’s staff — and said, ‘Jay is at his wits’ end, he has no idea what to do with this guy. Can’t stand this guy. Wants to give up, doesn’t want to start him, doesn’t want to play him.'”
This source, Russell insisted, has been “rock solid.”
According to Russell, Gruden had to convince Snyder “for several hours” last fall that benching Griffin was the proper call, suggesting the owner was very much a part of football decision-making.
“He had to, from what I was told, convince by going into Dan Snyder’s office for several hours last year in late November, to convince Dan why he needed to bench Robert, why he needed to take him out, why he was hurting the game,” Russell said.
“Does Jay have the ultimate authority?” he continued. “I don’t think he has the free and clear authority to do exactly what he wants. But if Jay does make that move — at whatever point he does — and Colt McCoy, who he prefers over Kirk Cousins, does not rescue the team, then that looks really bad on Jay.”
While Russell says he believes Gruden does not dislike Griffin as a person, he says their professional relationship has not improved from the strained state it reached last season.
“Other executives, other people that have been in the building and that are still in this building feel exactly the same way,” he added. “And it’s players, it’s executives, it’s scouts.”