Legendary NFL announcer John Madden may be known for his jovial personality, but the 77-year-old is none too pleased with Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan’s decision to bench Robert Griffin III.
At a Wednesday press conference, Shanahan announced that the Redskins would be “shutting down” Griffin for the remainder of the season, citing a concern to keep the franchise quarterback healthy heading into the offseason. His backup, fellow 2012 draft pick Kirk Cousins, will start at quarterback for the rest of the year. During his weekly appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Madden strongly condemned Shanahan’s decision.
“I mean, you know it’s baloney,” Madden said, via the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog. “I like Mike Shanahan, and I’m not talking behind his back, but when you say something like that, you know that’s not right — you’re not going to sacrifice regular season games. There’s only 16 of them a year. You’re not going to sacrifice regular season games for an offseason program.
“I know that part of it was he wasn’t healthy last offseason and that really hurt him, so it would be good if he were healthy this offseason. I believe that. There’s some truth to that,” Madden added. “But his playing is going to help him. He needs experience, he needs snaps, he needs reps, he needs to get his confidence back.”
After a strong rookie season, Griffin regressed this year after a torn ACL caused him to miss the entire preseason. The 23-year-old never got comfortable; he threw 16 touchdown passes against 12 interceptions and seemed to lack the “burst” and athleticism that allowed him to run roughshod over opposing defenses as a rookie.
Part of RGIII’s struggles can be traced to the poor play of his offensive line—the former Baylor star has been sacked 38 times this season, the fifth-most of any quarterback in the league. According to Madden, the Redskins would be better served by improving the players around Griffin rather than relegating the former first-round pick to the bench.
“Get some better blockers, get a better scheme, go an extra lineman sometimes, go an extra tight end, chip a good pass rusher, do something to help him other than to shut him down,” Madden said. “Where did shut him down ever come up in football? I never heard shut him down.”
Madden isn’t the only NFL pundit to question Shanahan’s motive in benching Griffin. In an interview with TMZ, Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer suggested that Shanahan benched him so that Redskins team owner Daniel Snyder—with whom Shanahan is rumored to be locked in a feud—would fire him. “That’s so Mike can get fired,” Glazer said. “So he can get fired and get paid.”
The Redskins are slated to pay Shanahan $7 million next year as part of the final year of his current contract. If Snyder fires him, the team would have to pay Shanahan the balance of his deal.
[H/T For The Win]