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Schauf's Still Celebrating Black Monday Firing of Mike Shanahan

By Lenny Pappano 6:16am EDT 5/24/14

You’re gonna find this out sooner or later.  So I’ll say it now: Our very own Matt Schauf has become an insufferable crusader for Robert Griffin’s fantasy stock this year.

I say “insufferable” because we share open office space.  And because Matt is still a bit giddy about the firing of former Redskins (sorry, Matt … I wrote “Redskins”) coach Mike Shanahan last Black Monday.  But there’s something to Matt’s giddiness.  A handful of players will benefit this September from Black Monday firings made last December.  Though, arguably, Robert Griffin is at the apex among fantasy beneficiaries.

“Coach Shanahan has taught me a lot in the last two years of being with him,” Griffin said when Shanahan was canned.  “I want to thank him for drafting me to the Washington Redskins and giving me the chance to live out my dreams.”

What Griffin meant to say was, “Coach Shanahan probably shaved two seasons off my career.  Glad to see him go.”  Let’s face it, Shanahan and his son Kyle used RGIII like a pack mule in 2012.  Sure, he won offensive Rookie of the Year honors.  But he also blew out his knee in a playoff loss to the Seahawks.  Worse yet, Griffin was already playing with an obviously gimpy knee before his right leg was gruesomely twisted behind him.

Shanahan got a lot of media scrutiny – rightly or wrongly – for exposing his franchise QB to that injury.  Among Shanahan’s critics was the young QB who got hurt.  Griffin never called out his coach, at least not publicly, but their professional relationship had been poisoned.  Their coach-player relationship was as dysfunctional as a “Bachelor” inspired marriage.

But the couple stuck it out for a horribly disappointing 2013 season.  On Black Monday, owner Danny Snyder pouted, “Redskins fans deserve a better result.”  As do fantasy football owners.

Enter new coach Jay Gruden, a QB-friendly coach with a different vision for Griffin.  Whereas Griffin ran the read option on more than 20% of his plays under Shanahan, Gruden this week said he would employ the read option “in sprinkles here and there.”  That should leave his stud QB far less exposed to getting teed up by defenders.  Sure, that could diminish his rushing yards, but it will also preserve his body and extend his time on the field.

The (very) early reports out of Washington are that RGIII is back to full health, and able to drive off his surgically repaired knee, something he couldn’t do last year.  He’s got another proven WR in former Eagle DeSean Jackson.  And he’s got a new coach in Gruden who turned Bengals QB Andy Dalton into a top 5 fantasy stud last year.

Alas, maybe anyone who drafts Robert Griffin will be celebrating the Black Monday firing of Mike Shanahan along with Matt.

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