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Mark Brunell says RG III needs work, but can develop in pocket

The concern among some of the Washington Redskins' coaches is that Robert Griffin III lacks pocket instincts -- and they don’t know if that can be developed. Mark Brunell says it can happen.

Brunell underwent a similar transformation in his career, and talked about how Griffin could do the same. Brunell was a scrambling quarterback who needed to develop in the pocket after a knee injury. Griffin must do the same if he wants to last in the NFL -- all of his injuries thus far have occurred when he scrambles (concussion vs. Atlanta; the knee injury against Baltimore and the dislocated ankle vs. Jacksonville).

“You can develop those [instincts],” said Brunell, the former Redskins quarterback who's now an ESPN analyst. “But to develop those instincts you have to stay in the pocket. You’ve got to be in there and it’s not easy because a lot of quarterbacks' heads tell them to stay in there but the feet tell them we’ve got to go. It’s tough. RG III made a living out of being dynamic outside the pocket, but success at that position demands that you operate out of that pocket most of the time. Certainly there’s a place to get out and go. It needs to happen at the right time, when you just have no other option and you just have to go.”

The Redskins hired Matt Cavanaugh as their quarterbacks coach Wednesday, a move Brunell said should benefit Griffin. Brunell spent two years with Cavanaugh while with the New York Jets and said he focuses hard on fundamentals. Yes, Griffin’s fundamentals need work.

“The injury didn’t help, that messes everything up,” Brunell said. “Just watching RG III, I didn’t think his footwork was all that great. I didn’t do a comparison to his first year or second year, but what I saw was poor footwork and not stepping into his throws. He had poor balance in the pocket, throwing off his back foot, getting out of the pocket too early and not being patient. There were a lot of guys worse than he was, but there’s some work to do there.”