Mike Shanahan is taking heat for leaving star quarterback Robert Griffin III in the team’s Wild Card round playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, despite the fact that Griffin was in obvious pain and severely hampered by the injury.
The Redskins would lose the game, 24-14, and may have lost Griffin for quite some time after he aggravated his injury.
At several points in the game, it was was clear that Robert Griffin III was bothered by his damaged knee, which was injured in December and aggravated by a hit RGIII suffered early in the playoff game. Even as the game slipped away with the Seahawks scoring 24 unanswered points, Mike Shanahan chose to keep Robert Griffin III on the field rather than turn to his other capable rookie quarterback, Kirk Cousins.
The decision may have turned disastrous. With the Redskins trailing 21-14 deep in their own territory in the fourth quarter, Robert Griffin III bent low to try to pick up a snap on the turf, twisting his right knee awkwardly and falling to the turf.
The decision has drawn some immediate criticism. Yahoo! Sports writer Dan Wetzel said the team wasn’t moving the ball with RGIII, so leaving him out when he was injured served no purpose. He lit into Mike Shanahan for the decision:
“The entire ordeal was painful to watch and had many wondering if Griffin III was being unduly risked for injury and whether Shanahan was pressing for a playoff victory while putting the health and future of his star rookie at risk. This was especially questionable because Cousins was terrific in a supporting role during the regular season. The Washington offense did nothing, allowing Seattle to mount drive after drive and finally take the lead.”
ESPN’s Dan Graziano also had harsh words for Mike Shanahan, noting that the Redskins coach was already taking heat for playing Robert Griffin III against the advice of team doctor James Andrews. Graziano wrote:
“The problems (plural) begin with the fact it wasn’t true. Griffin was injured. He entered the game injured, still wearing a brace to protect against further injury from the ligament sprain he suffered four weeks earlier in Baltimore. Sunday morning, a USA Today story quoted Redskins team physician James Andrews saying he was ‘a nervous wreck’ letting Griffin play so soon after the injury. When Griffin clearly aggravated the injury on a first-and-goal pass attempt in the first quarter Sunday, alarm bells should have been going off, and Griffin’s bravado should not have been enough to silence them. Not for the coach who traded three first-round picks and a second-round pick to get him and who’s charged with the care and maintenance of his long-term health.”
Do you think Mike Shanahan was being irresponsible by leaving Robert Griffin III in the game?