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Redskins mailbag: Part 1

ASHBURN, Va., -- For Part 1 of the Redskins' mailbag, there's some talk about the draft and a lot of chatter about Robert Griffin III: pocket presence, quarterbacks with bad mechanics, Jay Gruden's comments about him. Enjoy.

John Keim: I'm sure there is, but I would not do that at a position such as safety -- unless both players are at the top of their boards. They have other strong needs as well, so to think it's about one position would be incorrect. I'd still look hard at outside linebacker, even though they drafted Trent Murphy (and this depends how he develops, of course). Give me someone with elite skills/explosion. The other issue at a spot like safety is the learning curve. It's very tough when you have one rookie safety who starts let alone two. You need a veteran deep who can help with the nuances of the position, something a rookie would not grasp. It's not easy and if you have two rookies starting, you're asking for trouble. Even Sean Taylor needed a guy like that alongside him as a rookie. My guess is they'll look hard at safety in free agency. Keim: Yes. At some point those who are good pocket passers had to learn this as well; you're not born knowing how to operate in the pocket. The difference is guys like Peyton Manning enter the NFL more developed in this area because they've never been able to win with their legs. Therefore the learning in this area occurs before they reach the NFL. Quarterbacks like Griffin have to learn how to be pocket passers while developing in the NFL. It's not easy and not all get it, but, yes, you can improve. I've spoken with mobile quarterbacks such as Mark Brunell and Steve Young about their process of going from scrambling types to pocket passers. It can be done; it takes a few offseasons of hard work in this area and a strong understanding of how to read defenses and coverages and focus. Keim: Yes, it is a bit early. I think the key really is where Jay Gruden honestly feels Griffin is at in his development when the season ends. How much did they feel he improved? How far does he have to go? They definitely have concerns. If they feel he's still operating at such a basic level then sure it could be time to go in another direction. The frustration from Gruden on Monday was evident; that stuff comes out only after it has been building a while. But it could well be that they give him another offseason with Gruden. You don't change a quarterback, or develop him, in one offseason. Keim: I'm sure there are definitely examples. But it's not just about mechanics; with Griffin, for example, at times his drops did not match the routes -- that's more of a repetition/focus issue. Other times it is his footwork. For him it's about getting used to operating in the pocket. There are plenty of examples where a quarterback has improved his mechanics in this area. This isn't the same thing, but I remember Brett Favre talking about how, in something like his third or fourth season, he finally asked a fellow quarterback what 'nickel' meant. He had no idea that it referred to a defense using five defensive backs. That's not poor mechanics, of course, but it's an indication of a learning curve. Ben Roethlisberger had to learn pocket mechanics, too. But sometimes it takes a lot of humbling to reach a certain point. Keim: Probably both. I also don't think he was happy about Griffin saying anything about what anyone else had to do after that Tampa loss. And I know there has been frustration over the pace of his development -- slowed, yes, by his injury. I don't know if I'd call it a last-ditch effort, but it certainly was not a first-ditch one. And I also think it was clumsy media handling. Few coaches ever publicly criticize a player the way Gruden did and while it's good for the rest of the team to know no player is above reproach, even those who might have issues with Griffin didn't like how it was handled. A rookie mistake.