This power struggle will grind to a conclusion soon enough. Shanahan said he benched Griffin to preserve the quarterback for a future that extends beyond this disappointing season. The real reason behind that decision is debatable, but it is true that after missing all of last offseason following knee surgery, Griffin needs to be healthy for this upcoming offseason. He needs to be able to participate in offseason workouts, practices and minicamp. He needs to get reps in practice to develop into a better pocket passer. Griffin needs to learn how to more effectively read through his progressions so he can get the ball out faster.
And Griffin undoubtedly will have to do all that while adjusting to a new head coach, offensive coordinator and position coach.
Snyder is sensitive to his reputation. He empowered former Skins running back Clinton Portis when Jim Zorn was the head coach. He empowered former defensive end Bruce Smith when Marty Schottenheimer was the head coach. That approach caused problems then, just as it is causing problems now.
Griffin is a big enough star. He doesn't need Snyder to prop him up or single him out. And Snyder needs to understand that the best-run NFL teams – such as New England, Baltimore and the New York Giants – have stable structures and a clear chain of command with owners who care deeply about the team but don't undercut the leadership of the men they employ. They let their head coaches coach and their general managers manage and their players play.
Under Snyder, Washington has never had that. It is evident in the team's results. Since Snyder bought the franchise in 1999, Washington has a 104-133 record that includes just four winning seasons – and not one with more than 10 wins – plus one playoff victory.
That's reality. So, too, is this: Snyder soon will be looking for his eighth head coach, and he has no one to blame for that but himself.