RICHMOND – In each of his weekly news conferences, Robert Griffin III has made known his frustrations with the limitations placed upon him as he works his way back into form from January’s knee reconstruction. Coach Mike Shanahan has stood firm, however, only loosening the leash little by little and on his terms.
The rest of the Redskins players say they haven’t minded – or hardly paid attention to – the process. But Griffin isn’t alone in his frustrations that he didn’t have the freedom to practice fully until this past Wednesday.
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said not being able to work freely with his starting quarterback has proved exasperating. He understands why Mike Shanahan forced Griffin to take baby steps throughout camp. But Kyle Shanahan trusts that his father – with 38 years of coaching experience in the college and pro ranks compared to his own 10 combined seasons – knows the best way to handle the situation.
“I understood his frustrations. I am just as frustrated,” Kyle Shanahan said of Griffin. “The whole team, everybody wants him out there. Your starting quarterback, we all want him out there to play and it’s hard. Me being young and everything, I want him out there the very first day. I don’t have much experience in this. The main thing is we can’t risk him getting hurt. As hard as it is, as frustrating as it is for him, myself, the head coach, every player out here, it is what we have got to do. We have to keep him healthy, that is the most important thing, and make sure he is definitely ready to get out there and I think we have been smart about that.”
While Griffin lobbied for more freedom during his press conferences, Kyle Shanahan said that the quarterback never tried to negotiate with him for more playing time. Griffin never asked him to put in a word with the head coach, and the younger Shanahan never offered the elder input on the matter.
“Not really. My goal is to try not to be the middleman. Middlemen mess things up,” said Kyle Shanahan, who each day works on the side with Griffin when he’s not in team drills. “I would rather those two communicate to each other.”
Griffin’s progress has proved encouraging for his coordinator. He believes that based on the workload Griffin will receive over the next three-and-a-half weeks of the preseason, the quarterback will enter the regular season well-prepared.
“Our practices are full-go,” Shanahan said. “Nobody tackles the quarterback anywhere in the NFL; most colleges, they don’t either. You can’t simulate him actually getting tackled and taken to the ground, but our guys rush pretty hard. Guys get stepped on all the time in there even though guys aren’t hitting them. You saw what happened to [New England Patriots quarterback Tom] Brady yesterday. That happens a lot in football. You do have to move and react even when they are not hitting you. I think that is why the head coach was so hesitant to get him out there right away in those team drills. But you get him out here in practice, you can simulate a lot. No, we are not going to take him to the ground and tackle him, but you definitely have to move, you definitely have to react just to move in the pocket and make the reads.”
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● Friday’s practice — the final one of training camp — is at 10:35 a.m.
● GM Bruce Allen addresses reporters.
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