Joe Theismann: Mike Shanahan did Robert Griffin III a favor benching him

Saturday July 26th, 2014

Robert Griffin III wasn't happy about being benched for the final three games of last season, but former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann believes keeping RGIII out of those meaningless games was the best thing former coach Mike Shanahan could have done for him.

“I think Mike wanted Robert to be able to have an offseason and be healthy,” the 64-year-old Theismann told Liz Clarke of The Washington Post on Friday. “And that’s exactly what he has done. He’s moving better. He’s more fluid than he was certainly a year ago. I think he’s moving better than he did as a rookie.”

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In 13 games last season, Griffin threw for 3,203 yards and completed 60.1 percent of his passes. He had 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

In 15 games as a rookie, he has 3,200 passing yards, completing 65.6 percent of his passes, with 20 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also had seven rushing touchdowns as a rookie and none last season.

“When anybody gets hurt, you try and accommodate — physically and mentally,” said Theismann, who had his leg snapped by Lawrence Taylor in 1985. “I found out when I broke my right leg, and I tried to come back, I developed soreness in my arm that I never had before because my arm was trying to make up for the lack of power in my leg.

“So in Robert’s case, when you have a bad right knee, it’s your push-off leg, so all the sudden if it’s not 100 percent, and you don’t feel and believe it’s 100 percent, you start changing your delivery a little bit and then it starts to compound itself. Then, with the losses we had — and one thing after another, after another — the entire house of cards collapsed last year for this football team.”

- Chris Mascaro

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