Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young knows how hard it is to make the transition Robert Griffin III is trying to make. He knows what he's going through. What he doesn't know is how much work Griffin is putting into his job.
And that's something Young wanted to clear up after comments he made during a radio interview on the Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York. Young, among other things, said, "I've talked to his previous coaches, people I really trust and admire, that know quarterbacks. He doesn't put the time in."
But in a phone interview Thursday, Young, a Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN analyst, said he wants to call Griffin so he can "understand the purpose of the comments," and added, "I want the guy to move around."
"I have no insight. I have no sense of what he does game to game, week to week," Young said. "It's not putting time in week to week to play football. It's, and I've said this many times, it takes as much memorization and classroom work as it did for me in law school.
"It was Sid Gilman and Bill Walsh and Mike Shanahan -- they relentlessly forced me to do this work and that's what I was talking about. It's not, 'Does he take his backpack home on Thursday and does he study?' It's not about his work ethic. It's working on things that make you different in the long run. It's not something you can do in November. It's focusing more broadly on what will get me to do the job."
Young said it takes multiple offseasons of work, something Griffin has not had since entering the NFL. It was hard to get the necessary work in as a rookie and then after that season he was rehabbing a surgically-repaired right knee. This past offseason was his first true one in the NFL.
Young reiterated what he said on the radio that when making the transition Griffin is trying to make -- and one Young eventually mastered -- it requires hours of offseason classroom work. He said Griffin was around a good quarterback coach in Shanahan and now is with one again in Jay Gruden.
"You want to take every inch of what they have to offer," Young said. "And that's spending time. It's not like you can take a Tuesday and get this going. This is the offseason when you could be out doing something else and you're grinding away in the classroom with a coach on the chalkboard."
The tough part is that the collective bargaining agreement limits the work players can do at a facility or with a coach in the offseason.
"That mitigates the ability for any quarterback to really master the craft," Young said. "Peyton Manning didn't have to deal with that rule. It's not enough time to really master it. That's a problem. It doesn't allow coaches and players to be together enough and that's watering down the ability to be great."
Young said he feels a kinship with mobile quarterbacks such as Griffin, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Michael Vick and even Aaron Rodgers. He knows if a mobile quarterback can master playing in the pocket, their games elevate.
"The power in having that mastery in the pocket and still having the legs to go -- you can see what Aaron's doing now," Young said. "It's different than anyone else. He's a triple threat and you can't defend it."
And he again stressed it takes time and hours of offseason work.
"They play on instinct the first year and things go well and then the coach fills their heads with stuff and that's when they struggle," Young said. "There's a little time where they don't have it yet, but they're putting time in so their mind is full of stuff and they're not instinctive like when they came out of college. It's a complex thing. It's a complex process, but one that if you do it makes all the difference."