Here is what you need to know on this Monday, November 25, the day the Washington Redskins host the San Francisco 49ers.
What effect will will the controversy have on the field?
Does apparent dysfunction and disarray like the Redskins had this week make it difficult for players to focus on the task at hand? Or does it draw them closer together?
The team has been under fire for about a week and a half. It started out of the blue when Darrell Green questioned the leadership ability of Robert Griffin III despite, as he told Dan Hellie, not knowing anything about the situation.
Then there was the loss to Philly and there is no need to rehash what Griffin, Mike Shanahan, and Santana Moss said over the few days after that. Suffice it to stay that they didn’t appear to be reading from the same book, much less the same page.
For a few days it appeared that the crisis has passed. Griffin said all the right things his Wednesday press conference. Moss blamed the media for the issues. London Fletcher stepped in and praised Griffin.
Move along, nothing to see here.
But the whole thing exploded again on Sunday, when Mike Silver of the NFL Network reported that Griffin had asked that the team not show his negative plays during team film sessions (and that the request was flatly rejected). Shanahan took the unusual step of responding to a media report the day before a game to say that the report was “completely false”.
Silver also reported that some “inside the building” (Redskins Park) say that Griffin appears to be insecure in regards to backup QB Kirk Cousins and that Griffin had talked negatively about Shanahan to his teammates.
What’s the truth? Silver did not stay employed at Sports Illustrated for 13 years and then six more at Yahoo! Sports and then get hired by the NFL Network by making things up. If the story about Griffin not wanting to see what his mistakes in front of the team is false, his source made it up, not Silver.
As far as talking about Mike Shanahan negatively to his teammates, who knows what the heck that means? Was he blowing off some steam about the boss to his co-workers, something that is done daily around every water cooler in virtually every business in the country almost every day? Or was he trying to somehow turn his teammates against the coach? It could have been something in between and there is a lot in there that is pretty innocuous.
Is Griffin worried about Cousins taking his job? He could be, or he could have at least formed a perception in his mind that Cousins is a threat. It’s tough to find much negative there. Athletes find every reason they can to push themselves to practice harder, study that extra hour of film. If Griffin is using Cousins as extra motivation, why not? Some “inside the building” might think it’s odd but if it works for Griffin, who cares?
One aspect of NFL Network report that did not get as much play as the more sensational parts was Ian Rapoport saying that Shanahan and Griffin had met to clear the air and that there was “an air of positivity” after the meeting.
So is this a case of all’s well that ends well? Or are there still issues lingering out there? Most importantly, will all of this make any difference when the Redskins take the field to play the 49ers tonight?
There is the saying that goes, that which does not kill me makes me stronger. The tempest that surrounded the team this week does not appeared to have fractured them. We will see if this will strengthen them in any way, especially if the 49ers prove to be too much for them and they lose their third straight game.
Stat of the day
—The Redskins are tied for fifth in the league with 22 sacks given up. However, they have lost 193 yards on those sacks, more than all but nine teams.
—Days until: Giants @ Redskins 6; Chiefs @ Redskins 13; Redskins @ Falcons 20
—Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. 49ers 8:30 p.m.