He has had the Redskins’ playbook in his possession for more than three months now, and he has well in excess of 600 practice reps under his belt. Thursday night in Buffalo, the education of Robert Griffin III will be distilled down to a handful of plays — somewhere between 12 and 20 — in the Redskins’ first exhibition game of the season.
When it’s over, there will be new information to glean from Griffin’s performance, new wrinkles to smooth over and another exhibition game to prepare for nine days later.
“That’s really what training camp is about every year,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday. “You put a whole playbook in, and you try to find out what your offense does the best, and it always starts with the quarterback. . . . You want to put a bunch of stuff in to see what he is good at. We’ve got an idea from a few weeks of training camp and a few weeks of OTAs, and we’re going to have more of an idea after [he’s] in a live game. At the end of [the preseason], you [ask], ‘Well, what has your offense done best? What can [Griffin] do the best and what makes sense to do against New Orleans [in Week 1]?’”
Shanahan said the preseason plan for Griffin will mirror the “normal” progression for quarterbacks — 12 to 20 plays in the first game, perhaps 1 ½ quarters in the second game and a full half (and possibly a series in the third quarter) in the third game. Griffin won’t play at all in the fourth and final preseason game.
“I don’t see us wavering from that normal deal just because he’s a rookie,” Shanahan said. “He’s our starter, and we’re going to treat him like our starter.”
According to Shanahan, rather than install the playbook in chunks, the Redskins did it all at once, with the intention of scaling it back gradually. In part, that was done to see how much Griffin could handle.
With Griffin, “it’s not a problem learning the playbook,” Shanahan said. “He knows the playbook. . . . He’s had the playbook down for a while. But it’s not about just knowing the x’s and o’s. It’s about reacting on the field. No matter who you are, a rookie quarterback or a veteran quarterback, you can know the whole playbook, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be automatic at the whole playbook. Robert has been great in that he has learned the whole playbook, so it’s been [feasible] for us to practice with everything, which helps us find [what] does he do best. And since he’s working so hard, we can at least try everything with him.”
“It’s such a long process — OTAs, this month right now at training camp, all these games — so when we come to New Orleans we’ll have an idea, and we’ll know, and he’ll know what he does best.”