When his college season ended, Griffin’s representatives at Creative Artists Agency sent their client to quarterback guru Terry Shea in Arizona for nine weeks of intense preparation for the NFL Scouting Combine and his pro day. They knew one key for Griffin would be showing teams he’ll have no problem adjusting to a pro-style offense.
“It’s a learned skill, to drop back, cross your feet over,” Shea said. “That’s not something you wake up at age 10 and say, ‘Okay, I drop back now.’ You really have to put some time into it.”
By the second week of working together, Griffin had the drops down, Shea said, and the two were able to turn their focus to his release and arm mechanics. Wrinkles there were ironed out quickly, too. For all the attention Griffin’s feet and speed have received, Shea calls him “a passer in the purest sense of the word” and believes the NFL is getting a quarterback mechanically ready for a pro system.
“He disciplined his feet to where he never reverted back to old habits,” Shea said. “Some quarterbacks tend to go right back to what they did in high school or college. He was very disciplined. He was able to translate all this information into performance.”
Now coaches will have to help Griffin make the mental adjustment. He’ll have to play with his back to the offensive line on fake handoffs, turning around, quickly orienting himself and fending off defensive pressure. He’ll have to know where multiple receivers are at once. And he’ll have to memorize a lot more plays than he did in college.
Baylor, in fact, didn’t have a physical playbook. The Bears’ offensive players learned plays in meeting rooms and quickly installed them on the practice field. “We would install anywhere from four to eight new plays a week,” said Philip Montgomery, a Baylor offensive coordinator.
Montgomery said parts of Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan’s system actually will be easier for Griffin than they were in college. In particular, he noted the running game, in which the quarterback won’t be required to make reads or as many snap decisions.
“I think he’ll be exceptional in it,” Montgomery said. “I don’t think he’ll have any problem with it. . . . He and I have already talked about some of those things. He feels comfortable with it, and that’s the most important thing.”
Griffin plays down any talk that he might be better suited for one system than another. He grew up cheering for John Elway on Shanahan’s Denver teams and thinks he’ll be a nice fit for the scheme in Washington.