RG III: Benching 'coach's decision'

ByJohn Keim ESPN logo
Thursday, November 27, 2014

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III didn't have much to say about coach Jay Gruden's decision to bench him, repeating a phrase as he walked to the locker room during a 40-second interview.

"Coach's decision," Griffin said when asked about the move. "I'm here to help this team win."

Gruden told the quarterbacks Tuesday that he was going to start Colt McCoy ahead of Griffin this weekend.

Griffin declined to speak with the media about the decision Wednesday, though he hung out in the locker room and engaged in some small talk. He appeared disappointed and stung by the move. In practice, there wasn't much of a dropoff, if any, in his energy.

But it marked the second season in a row that he might possibly finish on the bench. Last season, then-coach Mike Shanahan pulled him from the lineup for the final three games, saying he wanted Griffin to finish the season healthy.

"Like I said, coach's decision," Griffin said.

Gruden said Griffin had not developed far enough in his game to keep starting. The Redskins' offense produced only 20 points in the past two games combined. Griffin had not looked decisive at times and his fundamentals within the framework of the offense were an issue for the coaches.

When asked about his progress, Griffin said as he headed into the facility, "Hey, I'm just focused on helping us win. That's all I can do."

Gruden said they still want Griffin to be part of the Redskins' future. He's entering the last year of his contract, though the Redskins have until May 3 to offer him a fifth-year extension.

"We'll see how he reacts to this and how he gets himself ready," Gruden said. "People handle adversity in different ways. Some people can't handle it, some people can. I think Robert is the type of guy that can. ... The expectations were a little unfair, but I'm not going to give up on him. He's not going to give up on himself, but as far as the future is concerned, we don't know."

Griffin didn't address his future and wouldn't say if this would serve as any sort of motivation.

He said that's not his focus right now as the No. 2 quarterback. A week ago, he said repeatedly said his focus was on San Francisco. Now, it's on something else.

"Just be ready to play and be here to help this team in any way I can," Griffin said.

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