“I’m not talking about statistics. We’ve had guys who could put up some numbers. I’m talking a guy that you know could just blow you away with something he does at any moment. Guys really don’t care as much about the statistics. What you want is to have someone who can be special. Man, that’s what he is.”
Daniels’s boss sure hopes so. Shanahan couldn’t care less about how Griffin measures up in fantasy football discussions. If Griffin displays progress in grasping Shanahan’s offense, then Shanahan would finally have the foundation he needs to ignite a long-awaited Redskins turnaround.
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Shanahan knows better than most how greatness in quarterbacks looks in the infancy of a career. Although Hall of Famer John Elway had only seven touchdown passes and 14 interceptions as a rookie in 1983, “there was no question about [Elway’s] ability,” Shanahan, who coached Elway to his greatest success, said recently. “You saw the things he could do and you knew. . .
it would only be a matter of time. The talent and the hard work usually come through.”
Ultimately, a quarterback’s win-loss record is what determines his worth. Winning two Super Bowls completed Elway’s credentials as an all-time great.
If Griffin is everything he appears to be, the Redskins should return to prominence — and start a long run among the NFL’s top-tier teams — beginning with the 2014 season. That would give Shanahan another two full offseasons, despite the team’s cap and draft limitations, to improve the roster on offense. It’s also reasonable to assume Griffin would have a master’s grasp of the offense by his third season.
That also happens to be the last season of the five-year contract owner Daniel Snyder gave Shanahan for one reason: to make the Redskins great again.
In the NFL, you are what your record is, Shanahan says. With an 11-21 mark his first two seasons in Washington, Shanahan would be the first to acknowledge he hasn’t gotten the job done. Shanahan was sidetracked feuding with Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth. He wasted time trying to turn Beck and the turnover-prone Rex Grossman into serviceable quarterbacks.
After two awful years for the Redskins and their fans, Griffin, if he’s everything he appears to be, will enable Shanahan to press the “reset button” and finally get moving on what he was brought here to do.
After two decades of mediocrity, it’s definitely past time for the Redskins to start creating better memories — memories with a big white number 10 all over them.
For previous columns by Jason Reid, visit washingtonpost.com/