Robert Griffin III Growing Increasingly Comfortable With Playbook
ASHBURN – Football knowledge and overall intelligence were just two of the attributes that helped Robert Griffin III develop into an elite quarterback prospect at Baylor.
Mere brainpower alone doesn’t help Griffin learn the Washington Redskins’ playbook this spring, but it does make him a quick learner. After just over a month of studying and two weeks of implementation, the rookie believes he already has a grasp on the concepts he needs to know.
“I think, at this point, we’ve put in about all of the offense in these six practices, so that’s a lot as a quarterback,” Griffin said Thursday, just past the midway point of the voluntary organized team activities. “I feel a lot more comfortable today, whereas I didn’t know anything before I got here. I think I know at least 60 to 70 percent of it pretty well, but you can’t operate at 60 to 70 percent. You’ve got to operate at 150 percent with your offense because not only do you have to know it, but you have to know what to do in certain situations. That’s still to come.”
There weren’t many questions that followed Griffin from December, when he won the Heisman Trophy, through April, when the Redskins traded up to select him No. 2 overall. One of the major criticisms, though, was whether the 6-foot-2, 223-pound quarterback would be able to understand the terminology and complexities of head coach Mike Shanahan’s offense.
Shanahan, for his part, maintained that the quarterback is a perfect fit, owing to his strong arm, his fleet feet and his quick decision-making. He’s even mentioned the possibility of doing things with the offense he hadn’t normally done; already, the coaches have installed packages designed to take advantage of Griffin’s talents.
“Robert can make some throws that most people can’t make, and with his great speed and mobility, we’ll be able to do things that we haven’t been able to do, that’s for sure,” Shanahan said. “But there are some growing pains that come with it, and that’s just getting used to the position.”
Griffin showed Thursday that it won’t always be smooth sailing, throwing a few passes too high, a few others too low and one or two off the hands of defenders. He said he’s not worried, given that dating back through his four years at Baylor, he never went an entire practice without an incompletion.
“It takes a while to get to the rhythm and flow of the drops and stuff like that,” Rex Grossman, the Redskins’ starter last year and now Griffin’s backup, said Thursday. “[He has] the timing down on all the routes and all the concepts we’ve got. Today was only day six, and each day is a new package of plays, and he’s handling it pretty well.”
When the players return next week for the last four days of the voluntary session, Shanahan said the coaches will start installing their two- and four-minute offenses, as well as short-yardage and goal-line packages.
The hope is that Griffin will have enough of a foundation to build on during the six weeks between the conclusion of minicamp in two weeks and the start of training camp in late July.
There’s no reason thus far to think he can’t handle it.
“What you try to do over this nine-week period is get him familiar with everything that we’re going to do during the season,” Shanahan said. “It’s overload on him.”