Redskins search for an identity on offense

June 13

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who will be entering his third season, will be learning a new offense under first-year coach Jay Gruden, who was hired in January.(Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Choosing an offensive identity isn’t going to be a quick decision for the Redskins. They’ve spent offseason camps trying to decide if they’re a passing team or a running team … or both.

“Coach says we’re going to huddle up and try to play smashmouth football and going to no-huddle and play smashmouth football,” quarterback Robert Griffin III said. “We’ll be multiple and see what we do best.”

The offseason has been about chemistry between new coach Jay Gruden’s offense, a quarterback finally healthy and an incoming receiver who figures to be the team’s biggest touchdown threat. Meanwhile, there’s the NFL’s leading receiver and a now-healthy tight end to incorporate, plus a running back who gained 2,888 yards over his first two seasons.

“The storylines don’t all lead back to me, and that’s fine,” Griffin said.

Gruden has an advantage many coaches don’t when taking over a 3-13 team — a ready offense. The old scheme has been more massaged than scrapped because a healthy Griffin — plus new receivers DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts alongside Pierre Garcon — could make Washington one of the NFL’s top offenses.

“Hopefully, it’s diversity,” Gruden said of the offense’s strength. “The ability to be able to run the ball effectively and have a quick passing game, have some bootlegs, having some deep passing threats, not knowing exactly what is going to happen.”

But it all depends on Griffin incorporating the new system. Given how quickly he learned the previous system as a rookie, it’s not expected to be a problem.

“There’s a lot of new plays, formations,” Gruden said. “He’s done an excellent job as far as his command of the huddle — that’s always been a positive of his — spitting out the plays and not having many [mistakes] at all.

“When you’ve only played two years at the quarterback position, you know you’re going to have your growing pains from time to time. … [Quarterbacks] just have to continue to come out here and work, see the look, see the defenses and attack. And he’s doing a good job of that.”

Gruden is working on Griffin’s footwork and decision-making. One play that was intercepted at Tuesday’s practice was completed on Wednesday.

It won’t be easy to keep all of the Redskins’ offensive weapons happy. Garcon will likely remain the leading receiver, but Jackson makes big plays, Roberts is trying not to be overlooked, and Jordan Reed is the team’s best tight end in years. And Alfred Morris will get his carries, too.

No wonder Griffin’s excited by the possibilities.

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