Mike Shanahan benched RGIII for poor performance, report claims

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Contrary to Shanahan's public statements, a report by Michael Silver says the move to bench Robert Griffin III was a result of his declining play.

Leading up to Mike Shanahan's benching of Robert Griffin III, the Washington Redskins coach was explicit in his insistence that such a move would be made in the interest of the franchise quarterback's health, not because of his poor play.

A report by NFL Media's Michael Silver, however, claims that Shanahan's decision to start Kirk Cousins for the remainder of the 2013 season was indeed based on RGIII's performance. Shanahan did not believe he could maintain credibility within the Redskins locker room if he continued to start the struggling Griffin, sources told Silver.

After a stellar Rookie of the Year performance in which he threw 20 touchdowns to just five interceptions, Griffin has thrown 16 touchdowns and 12 picks this season. Offseason knee surgery to repair a torn ACL seems to have cost him his burst and confidence to scramble, as his rushing yardage shrunk by nearly half and his rushing touchdowns dropped from seven in 2012 to zero in 2013.

Griffin completed just 46.2 percent of his passes for 164 yards last Sunday in an ugly loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

At his weekly press conference on Monday, Shanahan stated that a decision to bench Griffin would be made solely to maintain his health heading into the offseason. The young signal caller had been sacked 24 times in the team's last five games.

Sources also told NFL Media's Ian Rapoport that the team's coaching staff expects to be fired and are waiting to be "put out of their misery." Rapoport said Shanahan has no plans to resign, a move that would cost him part of the $7 million he is owed next season.

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