If Mike Shanahan is around to coach the Washington Redskins over the last three weeks of the season, he's not sure Robert Griffin III will be his quarterback.
Shanahan, whose job security has been a constant discussion in Washington since the Redskins' 45-10 loss to Kansas City on Sunday, said he hasn't decided on a starting quarterback for this week's game against Atlanta. He cited the Falcons' pass rush and the fact that the Redskins have given up 24 sacks in five games as a factor in his decision process. He wants to make sure Griffin gets through his second season in one piece.
He said if he decides to sit Griffin this week, he would shut last year's offensive rookie of the year down for the rest of the season. He said if he goes with Kirk Cousins, it would strictly be related to keeping Griffin healthy and not because of Griffin's struggles this season.
"I'm talking about his health. I want to make sure he's healthy," Shanahan said in his weekly Monday press conference, showed live by NFL Network. "I think that's the most important thing going into the offseason, that he has his first full offseason being healthy. If he did play and something happened to him, I think it would set our franchise back."
Shanahan quickly interjected to say that doesn't mean he has already decided to go with Cousins over Griffin.
"That doesn't say I'm not going that way," Shanahan said. "That's the reason I answered it the way I did. I'll think about it these next 48 hours and make a decision on Wednesday."
Griffin dismissed a question on Sunday about the possibility he might not start this week. Shanahan said on Monday he has already discussed the possibility with owner Daniel Snyder. Griffin missed most of the offseason because he was rehabbing a torn ACL suffered in the Redskins' playoff lost at the end of last season.
The relationship between Shanahan and Griffin has been a hot-button topic for months, and Snyder asked Shanahan about it during a talk on Monday.
"He asked me my relationship with Robert," Shanahan said. "I said I'm his head football coach, and not necessarily his best friend. Don't need to be his best friend. I want to make him the best quarterback possible."
The relationship between Snyder and Shanahan has come under question too. He said that he has a good relationship with Snyder. Still, the Washington Post reported that the Redskins were looking into their options in regards to Shanahan's future, including firing him before the season is over with cause and not paying him his final $7 million owed to him in his contract.
Shanahan spent most of his press conference saying he didn't want to talk about his future, especially the ESPN.com story that said he contemplated quitting before the end of last season. He didn't specifically deny the story, but used a snippet of him cleaning out his office before Washington's playoff game as an example of the story being not entirely accurate.
"It would take me two minutes to clean out my office," Shanahan said. "I've got two notebooks and an iPad."
Shanahan bristled at the predictable questions about his job status. He wanted to talk about Sunday's game against Atlanta, but that wasn't going to happen when the Redskins are 3-10 and there's rampant speculation that the head coach is on thin ice.
Shanahan has been a coach for a long time, and even though he didn't enjoy the constant questions about his job and his relationship with the quarterback and owner, he knew that's part of the job.
"There's always a lot of noise when you're 3-10, I understand that," Shanahan said. "Every organization has it. There is going to be a lot more noise the next few weeks, I understand that. But I've got one mindset right now, and that's focusing on Atlanta."
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