RICHMOND â 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 Januaryâs knee reconstruction. CoachÂ 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 havenât minded â or hardly paid attention to â the process. But Griffin isnât alone in his frustrations that he didnât 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 â with 38 years of coaching experience in the college and pro ranks compared to his own 10 combined seasons â knows the best way to handle the situation.
âI understood his frustrations. I am just as frustrated,â Kyle Shanahan said of Griffin. âThe whole team, everybody wants him out there. Your starting quarterback, we all want him out there to play and itâs hard. Me being young and everything, I want him out there the very first day. I donât have much experience in this. The main thing is we canât 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.â
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.
âNot really. My goal is to try not to be the middleman. Middlemen mess things up,â said Kyle Shanahan, who each day works on the side with Griffin when he’s not in team drills. âI would rather those two communicate to each other.â
Griffinâs 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.
âOur practices are full-go,â Shanahan said. âNobody tackles the quarterback anywhere in the NFL; most colleges, they donât either. You canât 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 arenât 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.â
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line âMailbag questionâ for him to answer it inÂ The Mailbag.
â Fridayâs practice â the final one of training camp â is at 10:35 a.m.
â GM Bruce Allen addresses reporters.
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