Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan again refused to name his starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, hinting on Monday that Robert Griffin III might be benched for the rest of the season for the quarterback's own protection.
During his Monday press conference, Shanahan said he is interested in protecting the franchise's investment in Griffin, who has been sacked 24 times in the past five games, including six times on Sunday.
It seems Shanahan is not confident that the Redskins' offensive line can adequately protect Griffin, which may cause Shanahan to keep Griffin off the field for the remaining games.
"I want to make sure he's healthy going into off season," Shanahan said. "I'll think about it and decide Wednesday."
Although the Redskins are out of the playoff race, benching a starting quarterback for his protection is virtually unprecedented in the NFL.
When asked about his relationship with Griffin, Shanahan said, "I told him I'm his coach," not his "best friend."
Griffin has been a favorite of Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, and benching Griffin might increase the presumed friction between owner and head coach.
It also would give Kevin Cousins an opportunity to prove he can be a starting NFL quarterback.
The Washington Post reported the Redskins are contemplating firing Shanahan and withholding his pay for 2014. If the team can prove that Shanahan orchestrated Sunday's report that he nearly quit in January 2013 over the relationship between Griffin and Snyder, the team might be able to show that Shanahan acted in a way that was detrimental to the team, thus violating his contract.