Ex-Browns, Redskins O-lineman: Understanding game the key for RG III

One of Robert Griffin III's former teammates offered this advice as Griffin joins the Cleveland Browns: Listen to his coaches, not anyone outside the team.

Ex-Browns offensive lineman Tony Pashos spent an offseason and entire training camp with the Washington Redskins in 2013. Though he did not make the team and play for the Redskins and with Griffin in the regular season, he saw enough to draw conclusions about the newest Browns quarterback.

To Pashos, Griffin needs to focus on being a quarterback and not worry about the externals. Forget Instagram followers. Forget being the strongest guy on the team. Forget dragging tires or chains (as he has shown in his Instagram posts).

"There is no way that if you get bigger, faster and stronger that that makes you be a better quarterback," Pashos said in a recent phone interview. "It's about going and getting with [coach] Hue Jackson and learning everything there is about that offense. And I mean everything.

"Know the right calls, for everyone. That way you can anticipate what every defense can do, and then in game study what each and every player can do. That's how you become a better football player at the next level. You just can't out talent the majority of people like you do in college football.

"He has and has had good coaches. Here's another great one he's going to have. He had great ones out of the gate. He needs to be focusing on what these coaches can teach him."

Griffin first played for Mike Shanahan, with Kyle Shanahan as the offensive coordinator. He had his most productive season with them running a read-option system.

Pathos called Mike Shanahan a Hall of Fame coach and Kyle Shanahan an "exceptional" offensive coordinator. He said Griffin's relationship with them went sour, as it did with another outstanding coach in Jay Gruden. He said very few people say negative things about Jackson, which gives Griffin another smart coach who can help him.

"I would love to see him put it all together." Pashos said. " Not only for himself, but I don't want him to burn Hue out, either. We all want to see Hue be really successful."

Griffin's pure talent is unquestioned. His arm is strong and he can run. But he has to concentrate on the fundamentals and footwork, reading coverages, knowing routes, knowing defenses and studying film. Griffin has to do it by becoming a student of the game, the offense and the position, Pashos said.

That's why some eyebrows in the NFL went up when Griffin went to see throwing guru Tom House. Throwing the ball has never been Griffin's issue. It's been understanding the game.

"When you talk film study, it's more than knowing where the receiver is going to be," Pashos said. "It's knowing where every player is going to be. You'd be shocked how much linemen have to know. You'd be floored if you talked to the great linemen. A guy like Joe Thomas, he knows so many details you'd never even imagine.

"I can't imagine at [quarterback], the depth of the knowledge it's going to take.

"Everything else is a distraction."

Can Griffin do it?

"Everybody can," Pashos said. "You're asking the wrong guy that question. I'm the ultimate optimist. They can if they take the right steps. It's all about, 'Can he take the right steps, can he do the right things, not the popular things.' It's not the followers, not the trendy things, the gurus and all that stuff.

"Get with those coaches. Because the extraordinary knowledge that they have is what is going to do it for you."