He needs RGIII.
Some coaches are capable of having sustained success without top-tier quarterbacks. Former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs comes to mind. Gibbs set the standard for developing a winning formula regardless of who played quarterback. He won three Super Bowl titles with three starting quarterbacks, none of whom is in the Hall of Fame.
During Gibbs’s first stint with the Redskins, they were perennial contenders despite many changes at quarterback. Season after season, Washington’s entire team — offense, defense and special teams — all came together under Gibbs.
Shanahan, it seems, isn’t the type of coach capable of making a championship run with a Trent Dilfer-type at quarterback. Hall of Famer John Elway retired from the Broncos after the 1998 season, which ended in a second consecutive Super Bowl victory. Since then, Shanahan hasn’t had a future Hall of Fame quarterback on his roster, and he has only one playoff win. Shanahan needs an extraordinary quarterback.
Shanahan isn’t unique in this regard; few coaches could win consistently with mediocre quarterbacks. It’s just that Shanahan’s results are spectacularly better when he teams with stars.
Potentially, Griffin is one. Griffin is an accurate passer. He’s highly athletic. He’s elusive. And he possesses work ethic and smarts, which Shanahan requires in his pupils.
Quarterbacks move around a lot in Shanahan’s system. Griffin would be an ideal fit. Also, a fast quarterback would certainly help Washington’s weak offensive line. With a 40-yard dash time of 4.41, Griffin is a quarterback with wide receiver speed.
During his college career, the Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor showed steady improvement in decision-making. In his first season, Griffin completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes. He was at 72.4 percent last season. Griffin’s touchdown passes increased from 22 during 2010 to 37 in 2011. He had almost 800 more yards passing over that span. All the above points to Griffin’s growth in reading defenses.
With so many great edge rushers in the NFL, slow-reacting quarterbacks often wind up on their backs or on the bench. Griffin’s quick reactions were a big part of his college success. Obviously, the NFL game is much faster. Undoubtedly, Griffin would need time to adjust. But with a little experience, everything should start to slow down for Griffin. Once that happens, he would be set to fully attack Shanahan’s complex playbook.