RICHMOND, VA. -- The temperature on his game is taken every day, which can lead to panic when he does poorly or overexuberance when he does well. ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden has a smarter take.
He says to slow down when it comes to Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. Gruden, brother of Redskins coach Jay Gruden, worked with two mobile quarterbacks who transitioned from relying on their legs to being dangerous passers: Randall Cunningham and Hall of Famer Steve Young.
“Everyone wants to know how [Griffin is] doing in this new offense,” said Gruden, who spoke to approximately 100 coaches at a Redskins Charitable Foundation clinic adjacent to the practice fields. “Let’s be honest, he just started. How can you tell? They haven’t even put on pads yet. This could be a period of a couple years where he transforms his game to a different level hopefully. He’s coming along quickly.
“This is going to be a process. It’s going to take a little time, but he clearly has the aptitude, intelligence and talent to be a great quarterback in this league no matter what offense you run. I’m going to temper everything -- it’s the first day I’ve seen. But all signs are good.”
Gruden said he didn’t mean to make it sound like it would take “100 years.” But he emphasized the fact it’s a new offense, one that Griffin hasn’t run against an opposing team.
“Yeah, I got the offense down. How the hell do you know? We haven’t seen him play against a padded defense yet,” Gruden said. “I have a lot of respect for this style of ball, a lot of respect for this system. You don’t just wave a magic wand and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got a new offense.’“
It’s hard to judge any player on a daily basis, but that’s the life of a pro quarterback, especially a high-profile one for a franchise such as the Redskins. Griffin is learning his second offense in the NFL and is coming off his first full offseason. He’ s had one dynamic season and one that wasn’t so dynamic after his knee surgery.
The Redskins want him to use his legs as a weapon, but they clearly want him to become a stronger passer from the pocket. It’s a natural progression in his career and something the previous staff wanted as well.
“He’s going to have to get a rhythm,” Gruden said, “a feel for this offense. When the primary receiver is not open you reset and get to the secondary receiver and if he’s not open you get to the outlet. If the protection isn’t very good and you have to scramble, it’s nice to have the speed he has. So [if you’re his coaches] what we’re trying to do is put the timing and the rhythm into everything we do and let him put his own expression on the offense. His spin on the quarterback position could be really exciting when it’s all settled.”