Shea on Shanahan: “You just can’t see it on the sideline.”
For all of the criticism that Redskins Head Coach and Executive VP Mike Shanahan has endured during and since Sunday’s NFC Wild-Card loss to the Seattle Seahawksand for his handling of Robert Griffin III , one thing is clear.
This controversy is never going away, and this pretty much ensures that the Shanahan’s will be under even more scrutiny than they already were, which is not going to be fun for the daily Redskins media corps to deal with.
As anybody who has listened to me since halftime on Sunday night on ESPN 980 and the Washington Redskins Radio Network knows, I have been critical of Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan, and everybody associated with the decision or perhaps we should call it the “non-decision before the incision.”
It does no good to keep bashing, because the damage is done. Surgery was performed Wednesday, as we detailed here and now the Redskins future is on the clock. AGAIN.
Before we move forward, I do think it is important to examine if the criticism was even valid or not. There were two components. The first issue was the medical side.The second issue was talent evaluation, and the Redskins refusal to remove a clearly hobbled Griffin III from the game to prevent further injury and to not hurt the team any further.
The latter was my issue. As for the medicals, we’ve already seen that the Redskins have a chaotic, unorganized environment which directly involves (or doesn’t?) Dr. James Andrews, who the team flies to every game – and secures his game day services exclusively.
I don’t necessarily blame Mike Shanahan for any of that mess, although as essentially the figure head of the Redskins organization, it is safe to say that the team needs to strongly examine that element.
I had a much harder time with Mike and Kyle Shanahan not-seeing what everybody in the press box could immediately see and what America was able to see via the replays and close-ups by FOX.
I wanted to reach out to somebody who knew a lot more than I do, about quarterback mechanics. I wanted that person to have a level of expertise, and independence that they would be willing to speak honestly.
That man? Terry Shea (www.coachshea.com) .Robert Griffin III’s quarterbacks coach from the time he left Baylor University until just before the phenom was drafted by the Washington Redskins in late April.
Terry Shea is not only a quarterbacks guru, but somebody who also spent time on the sidelines coaching in many NFL games. He knows the environment, and how crazy it can be.
Mike Shanahan often says he has the "worst seat in the house" on the sidelines. Hard to fathom, but I understand that the vision is different. So does Shea.
Shea, served as quarterbacks coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams, while also landing the offensive coordinator position with the Chicago Bears at one point. He knows the sidelines of an NFL game, as much as he knows the position.
Shea has also worked extensively with Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford, Blaine Gabbert and currently has Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson, USC’s Matt Barkley & Kansas State's Collin Klein under his tutelage.
Shea had not broken down any of Robert Griffin III’s film from his rookie season, but you know what a quarterback looks like, when you see one. He watched parts of the Seattle playoff game, and said the one big thing he noticed was that most of the throws Griffin made were “almost all with his arm.”
On the touchdown throw (Logan Paulsen), following the first re-aggravation of the right knee, Shea said “I didn’t see the mechanics of his right leg come through. A tender knee was very apparent.”
Shea, is not about evaluating system and fit. That’s not what he works on. He works on motion and mechanics and ways to develop and best utilize the natural talent.
He told ESPN 980 that if Griffin III had a ‘locked knee’ that it would absolutely affect his accuracy, and it “might have impaired some of his ability to push off (the plant leg),” which I think anybody watching the game was clearly able to notice.
Shea told me via phone on Thursday morning that Griffin III’s left leg or his lead leg is more important than his right, or back leg, saying “If you had to injure one or the other, the right knee not as important as the left. If u had to choose one of the two legs (to get injured), the least damaging would be the back leg.”
I thought that was an interesting point, but maybe that is my pitching and baseball side of me coming into my thought process. I was under the assumption that the plant leg was more important than your forward leg. It’s not, in Shea’s opinion and I’ll trust his expertise.
Here’s the other thing that I would have had no idea of, and this is where Shea basically said that the media’s criticism of Mike Shanahan was unwarranted.
Shea told ESPN 980, that while he could see on TV and with close-up HD replays that Griffin III was clearly not throwing the way you normally would, “You just can’t see it on the sideline as a coach. You can see that on tape. You really can’t see the mechanics on the ground level.”
Shea continued, “I would have seen the TD catch, and I would have thought Wow!”
I asked Shea – what about Kyle Shanahan and Redskins QB coach, Matt LaFleur and how they did not see enough in Griffin’s mechanics to notice the drop-off.
“Your eyes are focused on seeing what the quarterback sees. You don’t watch his mechanics. I would say the (Redskins) coaches would not have any opportunity.”
I still found it hard to believe that with all of the technology (HD video boards) and coaches, that somebody could miss what was fairly obvious to every one watching the game, and Shea countered “unlessyou have magic eyes and not many of us do, it’s not realistic.”
He kept going back to the touchdown throw (he did not see the interception) and said “You can see where Robert didn’t get his back leg through and over, he made it all with his arm on TV,” but he hammered home his belief that it would have been very difficult if not impossible for Mike Shanahan to see that from the ground.
Some good news for Griffin III’s future, according to Shea who said it was great that Griffin had the surgery so quick, “his body type is built to eliminate swelling, than a guy who has a bigger frame.”
You can buy a copy of Shea’s fantastic book “Eyes Up” right here.
Chris Russell // SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com // www.twitter.com/russellmania980