- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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ASHBURN, Va. -- Steve Young knows what Mike Shanahan wants from his quarterbacks, having played for him in San Francisco. That's why he doesn't buy Shanahan's explanation for benching Robert Griffin III.
Shanahan said he doesn't want Griffin to get hurt in the final three games and enter the offseason healthy, something he did not do last season and it cost him a chance to improve.
"That's fine. He will be safer. He will be healthy," Young said on ESPN's NFL Live. "But if you're playing well and doing your work, you're doing the job. You're playing."
Young acknowledged that Shanahan is tough on quarterbacks, no matter who it is.
"I know him well," Young said. "He gives very little tolerance for quarterbacks -- including me, John Elway, whoever else is playing -- if you're not playing well and you're not preparing to throw to five receivers every play. He puts quarterbacks in position to have to read sideline to sideline. That's a huge task for young players, and he wants guys that are willing to go work that out and play well. If you're not going to play well he's going to find someone else."
Young said Shanahan's system demands that you're able to look at all five receivers on a route (if that many go out). Not every offense operates this way; some focus more on half-field reads.
"They have five receivers go out, but they're only throwing to two, or one even, and that's a lot easier for young players," Young said. "Mike asks a lot and if he doesn't get it, he's the kind of guy who says, ‘Well, let's bring the next guy. I want to take a look,' even with what that means on the team, the city, the organization, everything. It doesn't matter. 'I want quarterbacks who are performing and performing well.' "