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Need to Know: Shanahan speaks of ‘growing pains’ for RG3

Nov 19, 2013, 6:34 AM EST

RG3-end-zone-Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 19, six days before the Washington Redskins host the San Francisco 49ers.

Nickel coverage

Five notes from Mike Shanahan’s Monday news conference, with comments:

1. Shanahan had this to say about the end zone interception that killed the Redskins’ miracle rally possibility: You’d always rather have it fourth-and-one than an interception, we all know that, so you’ve got to be able to throw the ball away at the right time. But he’s trying to make a play.” Comment: So, he was trying to make a play? I thought Griffin said he was trying to throw it away.

2. On the development of Robert Griffin III: “There is going to be some growing pains. It’s not going to be automatic. We didn’t expect it to be automatic. But there will be growth in what we do with him as time goes on and I think he’ll keep on getting better and better.” Comment: This is the realistic view. I think Redskins fans got spoiled by Griffin’s rapid development last year. He was a raw product coming in out of Baylor and he caught some lightning in a bottle. We’re seeing sort of a double dose of growing pains this year.

3. Asked about keeping the players believing in his plan: “Well, as I shared with you a second ago, we talked about the Minnesota game – you’ve got to be able to close that game. We talked about Philly, we had a chance even though it was in the fourth quarter to come back and have a chance to at least tie it up and go into overtime, and it’s disappointing we didn’t get it done. We’re playing some good football teams. We’re not finishing games. Like I said, when you’re No. 1 in the National Football League rushing, it means you’re doing some things good.” Comment: Two things here. He said they have  played “good football teams”. The Vikings are not a good football teams. The Eagles aren’t very good, either. And being at the top of the league in rushing in a passing league doesn’t mean what it used to. The Seahawks (10-1) and Chiefs (9-1) are among the top 10 rushing teams. So are the Texans (2-8), Bills (4-7), and Raiders (4-6).

4. Asked about comments from Griffin and others that the Eagles know what’s coming: “This year they’re saying hey we’re going to play a little more passive. You’re going to have to earn your right in that running game, which we’ve been able to do, and you’re not going to always get that deep ball so you’ve got to dump it off and be patient. That’s part of the NFL. No matter what quarterback you’re going against. No matter what system you’re going against. You’ve got to be able to relate or adjust your game plan accordingly.” Comment: Let’s get past the fact that he didn’t answer the question at all. The last part is something of an indictment, where he says you “adjust your game plan accordingly.” It doesn’t appear that the Redskins did that against the Eagles for most of the game or if they did it didn’t work. They didn’t score until Griffin scrambled and launched a pass to Darrel Young, who got free when two defenders collided with each other. A nice effort by the two players but not the result of a great play design.

5. Does Shanahan think that direction of the program still positive? “I really do. I really do and I think you’ve got to take a look at a number of things when you take a look at the direction of a football team. I think when you take a look at the offensive numbers and that just doesn’t happen naturally with a lot of new players. We talked about it last year – we had six new players on our team and putting up the numbers that we’re putting up are pretty impressive, especially with losing the $36 million salary cap over those two years’ timeframe.” Comment: Of course in a setting like this Shanahan is going to accentuate the positive and point out obstacles like the salary cap penalty. Although he said earlier in the press conference that he didn’t talk about his job status or security, he took advantage of the question to lobby the media and public at large, if not Dan Snyder, for more time to get this fixed.

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Stat of the day

—The Redskins’ five offensive linemen have played a combined 3,675 of a possible 3,675 offensive snaps this season.

Timeline

—Days until: Monday night 49ers @ Redskins 6; Giants @ Redskins 12; Chiefs @ Redskins 19

—Today’s schedule: Off day, no availability

In case you missed it

Shanahan on RG3: I think he’s done a good job

  1. clp5150 - Nov 19, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    Rich,

    I havent checked stats or heard any comparisons this season…but, how is RGIII comparing to Andrew Luck? Is Luck going through the same growing pains in his second year?

    I keep reading that Shanahan is a “players” coach, but I think he frustrates people because he’s definitely not a “fan” coach. His answers are always vanilla and there always seems to be an excuse. Don’t get me wrong, I want him to succeed, but I guess I’m clinging to his past accolades too much.

  2. Jason - Nov 19, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    On your first comment: I’m sure he meant that Robert was trying to make a play before he decided to throw it away which got him into that tough situation trying to throw it while running back.

  3. oaklandred - Nov 19, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    The reality is that RG III has a lot of development to do as a young QB from an unsophisticated college offense, that he’s recovering from a devastating knee injury, and that the team has been subjected to an absurd $38 million salary cap penalty.

    Shanahan has taken a team in shambles and ushered them out of the specter of the Zorn/Cerrato era, a team in need of being completely rebuilt, a team with all the handicaps it had last year – and somehow managed to win the NFC East. I guess it’s easy to forget that he managed to draft RG III and gave the team a great future with a rebuilt organization.

    Does it make sense to be mad at him because he doesn’t have a magic wand and isn’t able to overcome the injury, the inexperience, the salary cap, the need for total rebuilding when he started – and just win anyway, just win now.

    Patience is the only strength that a man needs, said a wise man. Sometimes there are setbacks. We’ve been down the road with our team of having no patience. It doesn’t work. Dan Snyder was the patron saint of the impatient, and it didn’t work. He wised up. Hopefully, the fans will follow his example . He will give Coach Shanahan a new contract, and the team will start winning in a big way, next year.

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