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Mike Shanahan Holds Frank Press Conference About Redskins

December 11, 2013

If Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan is leaving soon, he tried to write his legacy with the passion of "Peter and the Wolf."

A coach who admits to lying to the media and saying little, Shanahan delivered a spirited, wide-ranging press conference Dec. 11. Shanahan finally admitted that keeping quarterback Robert Griffin III in against Seattle cost the playoff game in January and was his fault. He said the offensive line was horrible and owner Dan Snyder didn't care about anything other than quarterbacks. Such admissions were like settling all debts before departing. 

It was as if Shanahan were channeling Col. Nathan Jessup in "A Few Good Men" right before confessing to ordering the code red. Shanahan justified mistakes because the public needs him on that wall.

Shanahan tried to sell his benching of Griffin for the final three games as a decision for the benefit of the player and the franchise and not part of a chess match with Snyder, which will likely soon end with the owner moving on to his eighth coach since 1999. 

Shanahan's claims were part plausible, part fable, even though he sprinkled the word "honestly" liberally throughout more than 30 minutes. Shanahan moving on to backup quarterback Kirk Cousins because the team can't protect Griffin, who has gotten sacked 24 times during the last five games, has some validity. And Shanahan's claim that losing Griffin to a late injury for a second offseason rehab would have destroyed Griffin personally and the franchise, too, is also right. 

But the part when Shanahan claimed he gave Snyder the right to veto the move is straight out of the pages of Mark Twain's "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."

Look, since Shanahan showed up in January 2010, he has said little to nothing and even less truthfully. For Shanahan to defend himself is akin to a man making a final plea to the jury. Too bad the jury knows the defendant has no credibility. 

"What I'm trying to do is be as honest as I can," Shanahan said. "And I don't normally do that, because I don't really think it's anybody's business except the guys in our locker room. And I don't get into a lot of detail. But here I think it's a must."

So you've lied in the past, but now you're telling the truth about Griffin's benching? Pardon everyone for being skeptical. 

It was particularly hard to accept Shanahan's denial that he was the source of a Dec. 8 ESPN report that he had planned to quit at the end of the 2012 season. 

"I think everybody in this room knows that I don't talk to anybody off the record," Shanahan said. "I don't."

Sorry, the credibility meter broke on that one. 

But Shanahan sprinkled a truism when revealing Snyder cares only about quarterbacks. Snider is a star chaser with a fantasy lineup that really plays on Sundays.

"Dan could care less about the other positions," Shanahan said. 

Wow, wait to out the boss. But then, Shanahan and Snyder appear to be in a private game about whether Shanahan leaves with $7 million during the final year of his contract. Shanahan is painting himself as a victim, blaming his 24-37 record as Washington's coach on the $36 million salary cap sanction, an injured quarterback and bad players such as Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb. 

The Redskins have been a circus since Snyder's 1999 arrival. It's just this time, someone tried to tell the truth, as least as he saw it, and no one believed him.

Sounds like the wolf ate Peter this time.