There are many theories and much conjecture on just how the Washington Redskins need to rebound from their mess of a season that's compounded by the complex relationship between Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III.
But there's an X-factor that must be considered: Mike's son, Kyle, the Redskins' offensive coordinator.
Could it be that the relationship between Kyle Shanahan and RGIII is the one we most should be concerned about? Griffin has called out the playcalling at times, and though he has suggested the Redskins' breakdown has been a widespread issue, the talk of Kyle and RGIII not seeing eye to eye has been the topic du jour in D.C.
On Thursday, Kyle Shanahan took time to diffuse the talk that he and RGIII are at odds amid the recurring reports that there was mistrust in the Griffin camp over how he was being used last season as he was dealing with a knee injury that eventually became the torn ACL that set him back entering the 2013 season. Per the Washington Post:
“Mine and Robert’s relationship is the same it’s always been,” Kyle Shanahan said. “Just like you said, outside perception thinks that ... I understand how this business works and I understand when you’re not doing well, when you have only three wins, people are going to pick at stuff. And I get that. But, what I’ve learned since I’ve been here is to make sure I don’t make perception become my reality. I come to work just like I always have and work with Robert just like did every day last year."
Mike Shanahan has one year remaining after this one on a five-year contract that pays him an exorbitant $7 million per season. There has been wild speculation, given the Redskins' massive struggles this season, that it could soon be curtains for Shanahan. But would there be a scenario where Shanahan returns but his son does not?
Mike Shanahan almost certainly will seek an extension this offseason, heading into his lame-duck year. Snyder could consider a one-year tack-on, but it likely would come with serious stipulations — take a pay cut, for instance, and perhaps make staff changes.
The Redskins are invested fully in Griffin, despite his setback season. They have too much at stake, including what could be a top-five pick they will not use this coming May, which now belongs to the St. Louis Rams. They owe Mike Shanahan $7 million no matter what. But their investment in Kyle Shanahan is far less.
If Snyder or GM Bruce Allen determine that Kyle Shanahan really is the problem in this menage a trois, they might not hesitate to force Mike into a tough corner: we'll grant you an extension, sure, but not with Kyle Shanahan has OC.
This is pure speculation. Why? There have been a swirl of whispers, rumors and scenarios that have eddied around the team now for the better part of a year, ever since the handling of a gimpy Griffin came up. There is distrust in the building, and outside of it, and losing has made the situation nearly impossible to see forth without some kind of change.
Perhaps Papa Shanahan could make some calls around the league and get Kyle a job elsewhere, to ensure he lands on his feet and allow him to walk away without first being fired. Shanahan has relationships with current head coaches Bill Belichick, Gary Kubiak (but for how long is he a head coach?), Jeff Fisher and Sean Payton, among others, and could help land Kyle Shanahan an assistant position with one of those teams, or another squad.
Could all three return? Perhaps. But it would not be without the cloak of awkwardness that would be sure to carry forth to next season.
How do the Redskins always find themselves in these types of situations, year in and year out?
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