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Shanahan forcing Redskins owner's hand?

The Redskins are contemplating a way to fire their coach with cause to avoid paying out his contract over the next year, according to the Washington Post.

The Redskins are contemplating a way to fire their coach with cause to avoid paying out his contract over the next year, according to the Washington Post.

A person with ties to the organization said that Mike Shanahan's announcement about possibly sitting down quarterback Robert Griffin III appeared to be an attempt by Shanahan to provoke Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to fire him this week to avoid such a benching. It is believed that Shanahan would be paid for the remainder of his contract, which runs through next season and is worth about $7 million per season, if he is fired. Shanahan would forfeit the money due to him for the rest of his contract if he resigns.

Shanahan said Monday he would decide by Wednesday whether to sit down Griffin because of the number of sacks that the second-year quarterback has absorbed in recent weeks. If Griffin sits, Kirk Cousins would start Sunday's game at Atlanta. Shanahan said that Griffin would not play again this season if it is decided this week that he won't play against the Falcons.

Major violation

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks says he's hearing plenty of teasing from teammates for his role in a video that has gone viral.

After Starks fell on a Pittsburgh Steelers fumble, the video shows center Cody Wallace trying to make him cough up the ball by poking him repeatedly with his left fist in the backside below the waist, in an off-limits area even in the rough-and-tumble NFL.

Starks said he didn't retaliate because when he rose from the pile, he wasn't sure of the perpetrator.

"I'm glad I didn't know who it was, because it would have gotten ugly out there," Starks said.

While Wallace faces a possible fine, Starks' teammates were amused by the incident in Miami's 34-28 victory Sunday.

"They are getting on me - 'Check the prostate' and stuff like that," Starks said. "I'm hearing it."

Te'o ignoring flak

Manti Te'o says his rough rookie season has nothing to do with the flak he's faced over getting fooled by a hoax involving a fake girlfriend while at Notre Dame.

The Chargers rookie linebacker said in his first conference call of the season that he has yet to play a complete game in the NFL but that's because of his adjustment to the pros and not because he's distracted in any way by the catcalls from opposing teams or their fans.

Te'o said he does a good job blocking out the chatter from the stands.

"I've definitely heard things," he said. "But to be honest, I'm so locked into the game that basically I don't really catch it."

Te'o, however, has yet to record an interception or a sack or really have a big impact on a game for the Chargers (6-7), who visit the Broncos (11-2) Thursday night.

Better without bully?

Is the Dolphins offensive line actually better without Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin? In two measurable areas - sacks and rushing average - this unit has played better since those two departed.

Just look at the numbers since the two BullyGate protagonists left. In the first seven games, with Martin and Incognito starting, the Dolphins allowed 32 sacks (4.6 per game) and ran for 4.1 yards per carry.

Conversely, in the last six games, the Dolphins allowed 16 sacks (that's 2.7 per game), and ran for 4.4 yards per carry.

Then there's this: Martin allowed seven sacks in 458 snaps - six games at left tackle, one at right. Also, Incognito permitted six sacks, most among NFL guards. Since he left, Dolphins left guards have allowed only two: one by Nate Garner and one by Sam Brenner in his 187 snaps. So why is this group better?

Guard Danny Watkins said their loss "made us stronger. We rallied around it."

Incognito probably won't return, and Martin prefers to be traded or released next year, an associate said.

Big Chief

Typically, NFL feature backs wear down during the grind of a 16-game schedule.

But Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles keeps getting stronger and stronger.

Charles ripped off a season-best 151 yards in 19 carries during Sunday's 45-10 victory over Washington.

Even more impressive is that Charles is averaging 7.33 yards per carry in his last three games.

"Jamaal continues to be the best," said Chiefs coach Andy Reid. "He's as good as they come."

- Inquirer wire services