Shanahan: RG III 'can't take shots'

PHOENIX -- The Washington Redskins don't know when Robert Griffin III will be ready to play again following offseason knee surgery, but whenever the quarterback does return to the field, coach Mike Shanahan would like to see him do a better job of protecting himself.

"You can't take shots consistently," Shanahan said at the NFC coaches breakfast Wednesday morning at the NFL owners meetings.

Shanahan said he thinks more experience as a pocket passer and more practice throwing the ball away or sliding in situations that call for it will help Griffin improve in areas of his game he didn't have to worry about as a Heisman Trophy-winning superstar in college.

As for when Griffin will see the field again following the reconstructive knee surgery he had in March, Shanahan said he simply does not know. Team doctors and trainers are describing Griffin as "ahead of schedule" in his rehab, Shanahan said, but no one can put a timetable on the recovery.

"For me to tell you anything at this time is kind of ludicrous," Shanahan said. "All I can tell you, though, is when you've got a guy who's got the flexibility that he has, he's got the strength, he's got the desire to be the best at what he does, usually good things happen.

"He's in there every day. He's working out six, eight hours a day. He's got great strength and great flexibility, and that gives him a chance to hopefully be ready for the season, right? I don't know."

Shanahan said he'll rely on the team doctors to tell him when Griffin is ready to return to practice, and he believes he'll be able to tell by watching his young quarterback when he's back to full speed. But after Griffin talked his way back into the Redskins' playoff loss in January at much less than full strength, Shanahan indicated that he'll be more skeptical when it comes to Griffin's input on the injury situation.

"That's part of the evaluation of people," Shanahan said. "When people say they're ready to go and maybe they're not, do you keep that in the back of your head? Sure."