Griffin's goals of playing during the preseason and being the opening day starter were fueled by arrogance, a lack of self-awareness and insecurity. He has much to learn as a pocket passer. He is not adept at throwing a receiver open. He's not adept at throwing in rhythm into a tight window. Those pocket-QB attributes are developed with relentless hours on the practice field fostering chemistry with a group of receivers.
A couple of weeks ago on "Sunday Night Football," NBC showed a replay of a play where RG III took a sack allegedly because his receivers were all covered. All three receivers were wide open by NFL standards had the ball been thrown in rhythm in 2.5 seconds. They were the kind of throws Manning and Drew Brees complete with their eyes closed. RG III took a sack. Everyone blamed the offensive line and the receivers. The truth is, Griffin is every bit as responsible for the inefficiencies in Washington's passing offense as the receivers and a group of linemen not quite sturdy enough for a dropback offense with a QB who doesn't throw the ball on time.
Griffin is not ready to play the game consistently from the pocket. He no longer has the legs to mask his deficiencies as a passer.
Shanahan could see all this coming. Griffin could not. He spent the offseason making commercials and documentaries hyping his swagger. He's BFF with the owner of the team. He orbited a different reality than Shanahan.
Washington (3-10) is not a playoff team this year. Shanahan is going to be fired. The absolute best thing Shanahan can do for the Washington franchise is deliver Griffin to the offseason physically and mentally healthy. Griffin has an overabundance of confidence. The key to his mental health is humility. Can he bring the right spirit to the offseason? Does he understand that his hey-look-at-me 2013 offseason was inappropriate on a team loaded with proud veterans such as London Fletcher and Santana Moss?
Again, Shanahan has made numerous mistakes that will cost him his job. There is no disputing that. But I think a fair reading of his latest decision puts him in a favorable light. Shanahan is falling on his sword. He's trying to positively position Dan Snyder, the new coach and RG III. Hopefully Kirk Cousins will elevate his trade value by posting good numbers against Atlanta and Dallas. The entire franchise can benefit from Shanahan's last act.
The reason Snyder has not fired his lame-duck coach is because he realizes he played a role in Shanahan's inability to connect with RG III in a way that would've allowed Shanahan to humble Griffin and properly manage him. Snyder realizes Griffin needs to be humbled. Anyone objectively watching the Washington game film realizes Griffin is living in a false reality as a pocket passer. Anyone who witnessed Griffin's Week 1, flag-carrying, drop-to-his-knees, pregame jaunt onto the field realizes Griffin has a lot of work to do as a locker room leader.
He's lost in swagger, a bogus reality fueled by social media and a culture with little regard for humility and self-awareness. There's no guarantee he'll awaken from his fantasy world. But Mike Shanahan will soon clean out his office knowing he shook Griffin as hard as he could.