Next Redskins Coach Must Help Griffin Make The Jump
Guest post by Kevin Jones
Two quick housekeeping things:
- I had Mike Shanahan fired right after the 49ers loss. No need to keep repeating myself.
- I had Art Briles to the Redskins in October. I still think he’s the best fit. You’ll see why below.
It’s that time of year again to say Dan Snyder is the worst human being in the world. Except, this time, he actually isn’t.
To me, blaming Dan Snyder is like complaining about taxes: there really is no point because neither is going to change. Snyder—like a good portion of owners in the league—will forever have relationships with his star players. Although he’s lost his brilliance, there’s no way Mike Shanahan can logically fault the Redskins’ losing culture on RGIII and Snyder being pals. When you gamble the mortgage of your franchise for a charismatic Heisman trophy winner, you’ve already crowned that player the most important on your roster. By far. Griffin’s power within the Redskins organization stems from Shanahan and Bruce Allen trading the moon to get the quarterback—not going out to dinner with Dan Snyder. I think it’s a ridiculous request to ask someone who pays billions for the team to hide in the shadows.
You may not believe it but there is a coach in the world that exists who can succeed in Washington. He has to bring an innovative passing attack. He has to be completely honest with the media (unlike Shanahan), or reporters will tear the team apart—as the 2013 version of the Redskins can attest. He has to be able to understand who Dan Snyder is as a person and balance the line of friend and boss.
But most importantly, the next head coach of the Washington Redskins is in charge of taking Robert Griffin III from slightly above average to borderline elite. The NFL is a quarterback’s league, which is exactly why Griffin should have a say in who becomes the next coach.
I know most of you will disagree. You think the 23-year-old already abused his power in 2013 by coming back too soon from injury and indicting the play-calling, among other things. History will say Griffin ran Shanahan out of town. Writers will pronounce RGIII an uncoachable know-it-all. Talking heads will bark that Year Three of his career will be a make-or-break season.
But RGIII just isn’t one of the guys. And painting him as an equal to his teammates is a flawed approach to making Griffin as successful as possible. Is he arrogant at times? Yes. Does he need to take more accountability…both when he scrambles and at the podium? One hundred percent.
The thing about Griffin is that nearly all of his flaws are correctable, by the right coach. He has the skill set and obsession with winning to bring a fourth Lombardi trophy to the display case at Redskins Park. And he’s hit rock bottom early enough in his career, I’d argue, which honestly could have been the best medicine for him. RGIII needs to live in the film room this offseason and truly become a student of the game.
The Redskins cannot string together winning seasons if RGIII doesn’t reach his potential. That’s why Washington’s quarterback should be given the opportunity to meet with each head coaching candidate. Chemistry equals winning. And this franchise can’t have a rocky relationship between the quarterback it’s married to and the new head coach. The new coach has to realize the media is going to heavily scrutinize the rapport he has with RGIII.
You can add Mike Shanahan as a black mark to Daniel Snyder’s growing list of failures. I’m sure there will be a tell-all interview from Shanahan sometime in 2014 that blasts the culture in Washington, leaving Snyder at fault. To me, players don’t tune coaching staffs out because of the ownership. They stop putting forth effort when they realize they can’t win.
Hiring RGIII’s former college coach Art Briles will be viewed negatively in many ways. They’ll say the Redskins are trying to force it by copying Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles. More loudly, they’ll say, There goes Dan Snyder empowering Griffin even more. That’s fine.
Getting Griffin to make the jump to a dominant quarterback you can count on in January will be the biggest challenge for the Redskins’ next head coach. If that means RGIII has a say in who it is, that’s more than fine by me.
Follow Kevin Jones on Twitter: @Mr_KevinJones