A few weeks ago when Jon Gruden told me the coach-quarterback relationship is the single most important ingredient of a successful NFL franchise, I'm quite certain he did not have the Washington Redskins in mind. If you've been following along at home this week as the doomed relationship between coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Robert Griffin III fractured publicly and irrevocably in a series of bizarre soap-opera inspired news conferences, here's where we now stand:
No, the coach and quarterback are not, like, you know, close-close friends. Yes, a year after playing Griffin when he was hurt, Shanahan has now decided to sit him now that he's fully healthy. Yes, he recently said what Griffin needs is reps. No, he didn't mean it. Yes, his name is Kirk Cousins. No, I have no idea who that is. No, Shanahan swears he's not trying to get fired to collect his $7 million 2014 salary. Yes, he's being honest. No, it's not normal for him. Yes, most of this is Dan Snyder's fault.
No, this most certainly will not end well.
Inside the twisted world of the Flem File, however, the Shanny-RG III situation does have one redeeming quality: perspective. Now that the curtain has been drawn back and we know, for certain, what the worst coach-QB relationship in the NFL looks and acts like, we can better measure the progress of the rest of the league.
So, using a scale I invented from 0 SHANNYs (father-son) to 5 SHANNYs (2013 Shanny-RG III), I decided to rank how each NFL team is doing with the most important connection in the game.
BRUCE ARIANS-CARSON PALMER: The Cardinals have found the secret to avoiding any friction between the coach and the QB: avoid practice. Palmer didn't throw a single practice pass all week then completed a career-best 84.4 percent of his passes in a 30-10 win against the Rams. Arians knows what he has to do to keep the peace: ban Palmer from the facility for the rest of the season. SHANNYs: 2
MIKE SMITH-MATT RYAN: The Falcons' QB has been sacked a career-high 31 times this season, including six times by the Bills in Week 13. And you thought RG III needed to be benched for his own protection. SHANNYs: 2
JOHN HARBAUGH-JOE FLACCO: The Ravens' $120 million quarterback beat the Vikings on Sunday with his 18th career game-winning drive, making Flacco the winningest quarterback ever over the first six seasons of his career. "Joe is our guy," Harbaugh says. "I love him and I respect him and I think he's a great player. I always have." It's rare to spend $120 million these days and not have a single ounce of buyer's remorse. SHANNYs: 0
DOUG MARRONE-EJ MANUEL: Manuel has one of the worst QBRs in the league and is coming off his worst performance of the season. But Marrone says he won't bench the Bills' rookie passer, which is exactly how you go about building trust and a fruitful, long-term relationship between a coach and a QB. Someone alert the Redskins. SHANNYs: 1