Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has a few verbal crutches. You cover a man for six years, you get to know them well.
"Setback" is a favorite of his. "Anytime" prefaces a lot of his sentences. He did it five times on Wednesday. One of his other favorites that amused the Broncos media corps for a long time when he was coaching in Denver was when he'd start an answer with "to be honest with you."
"To be honest with you," Shanahan said on Wednesday, discussing benching quarterback Robert Griffin III for Kirk Cousins, "as I’ve stated before, I wanted to give Robert as many reps as he possibly could have."
That was always a humorous one, because what did it mean the rest of the time when he didn't say it?
On Wednesday he had a good punch line when answering one of many questions on the Redskins' quarterback situation.
"What I’m trying to do is be as honest as I can, and I don’t normally do that because I don’t really think it’s anybody’s business except the guys in our locker room," Shanahan said, according to the Redskins' transcript. "And I don’t get into a lot of detail, but here I think it’s a must for people to understand what I’m thinking relative to Robert, what I’m thinking relative to Kirk, this organization, and what direction we’re trying to go in moving forward."
So, in short, I usually lie to you but trust me on this one because now I'm being sincere. I'm sure the people there got a chuckle out of that. It's pretty funny.
But to be honest with you, Shanahan has handled a volatile situation very well this week. That's not too surprising considering he has been a coach most of his life, but imagine being in his situation.
He is juggling a quarterback controversy in one of the most football-crazy cities in the NFL. That would be plenty difficult on its own, and then add multiple questions about his job security. He has been asked multiple times about his relationships with owner Daniel Snyder and Griffin. He was even asked if he and Snyder have discussed the future of his offensive coordinator, who happens to be his son, Kyle.
Shanahan has come off reasonably well, considering this is a legitimate five-alarm NFL fire he's dealing with. I'm sure he hasn't told the truth on every subject, because no football coach tells the truth all the time, everyone knows that. But Shanahan has been accommodating. He has been expansive on his decisions regarding Griffin. Sure he got a bit frustrated at repeated questions on Monday and wanted to talk about this week's game, but he understands that's not possible. Shanahan stood in front of the media for a long time and answered a lot of difficult questions, including many about his future, which shows he knows this is just part of life as a NFL coach.
"I think anytime that you have a year left on your contract and you have three wins, that’s going to be out there," Shanahan said. "That’s what happens. That’s the nature of our business."
And that's the truth... we think.
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