In the aftermath of the benching of Robert Griffin III by Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins there is a lot of speculation about the true reasons for the decision. The uniqueness of this situation is a big reason why there is so much speculation though. There just are not very many instances of something like this happening to fall back on, and the lack of history makes so many different reasons seem entirely plausible.
With the amount of possibilities involved it seemed like an interesting time to lay them all out in one individual post. With that goal in mind, here we go!
Option 1: Mike Shanahan is being honest about his decision
It's not flashy, but it really could be that simple. Mike Shanahan says that this decision is not an indictment on RG3's play this season and is strictly about limiting his exposure to injuries. Every NFL fan that has watched Mr. Griffin play can attest to his propensity to put himself in harms way with his play-making ability.
It is entirely feasible that this is a move to save Robert from himself. He has not yet learned the art of a well executed slide and his running puts him in precarious positions. He has had two different knee injuries in his past and it is reasonable to want to limit the chance of another happening.
Backing this up as the reality is the way that RG3's season ended last year. Mike was opened up to legitimate criticism by keeping Robert in when he was obviously injured. This could be an instance where Shanahan made a mistake that got Griffin injured once before and he is just being extra careful now to not let him get needlessly injured again.
Option 2: Cousins' skill is on display for trade bait
Kirk Cousins is an intriguing and valuable asset to the Redskins as a back up to RG3 but also as a potential piece to move for a nice value. The NFL is a passing league and that makes a QB like Cousins a prime asset that could fetch some interest from a passing deficient team in need of a new leader.
With the season for Washington down the drain it gives them a chance to put their valuable asset on display. If Kirk plays lights out the rest of the way another team could take the bait. Unloading Cousins this off-season would help ease the pain of having to give up their top 10 pick this year to the Rams that they are giving up as part of the RG3 deal.
Option 3: Forget sugar coating, RG3 just got benched
This doesn't seem that reasonable considering the talent level of Robert Griffin III, but Jeff Darlington of NFL.com is quoting unnamed players with the team as having said this was the case. Even ESPN's Numbers Never Lie boldly proclaimed that RG3's production over the past 4 weeks was no better than the output of a back-up level quarterback in the NFL as an answer to one of their debates.
It's hard to deny that Robert has been struggling badly, but he didn't give up 45 points to the Chiefs. There is more wrong with this Redskins team than just the play of the quarterback and to bench the team's leader to end the season seems a shortsighted response.
If this is a statement being made about RG3's play then he better listen to it intently. He is already losing much needed experience and possibly worse if he can't win back the confidence of the locker room. If this is a move to wake him up to possibly losing his command without improving then he better learn from it.
Option 4: Shanahan is a motivational genius
As an outsider looking in it does seem like Robert has been losing some respect from his locker room. He has lacked accountability at times and his teammates have called him out on it publicly. Something has to give before next season begins for the Redskins to become the force they expect themselves to be.
In comes some motivational gamesmanship to manipulate the locker room. There are many people that question this move by Shanahan as outrageous, and that could exactly be the intent of it.
If the locker room feels like this isn't fair to Robert it could create a solidarity behind Griffin that at times feels to be missing. Sometimes negativity can be used as a great unifying force. If his teammates see this as an affront on Griffin that unifying effect could come out and help RG3 regain his leadership within the team dynamics.
Option 5: Shanahan knows he is on his way out and is researching more on Kirk Cousins
Mike definitely comes across as a lame duck coach right now with a foot out the door. He is already a rumoured possibility for the one job open in Houston, and his name would top other lists too after other coaches in the league meet their dooms. Chances are if he takes on a new head coach job somewhere that his new team will need a quarterback.
There is no better opportunity for Shanahan to see if Cousins could be worth acquiring than to see what he can do the rest of this season. He can see if Kirk is worthy of building a team around right now by selfishly using his final days in Washington for his own research. With an ego the size of Mike Shanahan's something like this is terrifyingly possible.
Vote in the poll question and use the comments section to voice your opinion on what you think is behind Mike Shanahan's decision to bench RG3. Do you have an option that wasn't covered in this post? If you do then the comments section is also the place to voice that opinion as well!