Uh oh, what if Mike Shanahan wasn’t the bad guy after all.
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III remains at risk after resisting advice from new coach Jay Gruden on running and sliding. The third-year passer hits the deck worse than Charlie Brown.
On three scampers during Monday’s 24-23 victory over Cleveland, Griffin nearly turned an ankle going down on one, was hit twice on another and managed a weak sliding attempt on the third.
Griffin has been hurt in the past while scrambling, and he will surely suffer another major injury if he continues to run recklessly.
“I got caught in an awkward situation on the first one. I tried to slide. It was a bad attempt at a slide,” Griffin said. “And then on their sideline, I was in a situation there where I thought I was going to be able to get out of bounds, and [the defender] was running out of bounds with [tight end] Jordan Reed and he came back in. I had to protect myself, so that’s why I put my shoulder down. And then my third attempt was very successful. I got down and got out of harm’s way.”
“Harm’s way” is exactly why Gruden wants Griffin to remain in the pocket more this year than he did in his first two seasons. The Redskins have a major investment in Griffin (three first-rounders and a second-) so another major injury could be a franchise-busting waste of top picks.
Shanahan couldn’t get Griffin to slide correctly and Gruden hasn’t succeeded, either.
Griffin shouldn’t be caged, though. The Heisman Trophy winner has to be the dynamic playmaker that led the Redskins to draft him second overall in 2012. Griffin is dangerous when he moves around; it’s just the Redskins don’t want him exposed too often and certainly not in a meaningless preseason game.
“He has a habit in his career of being able to get himself out of predicaments with his speed and his athleticism,” Gruden said. “He has to pick his shots and learn how to get down a little better.”
Griffin’s biggest problem when sliding is he doesn’t turn his cleats horizontally, so he risks having them catch the turf and cause an injury. He also waits too long before sliding — trying to pick up an extra yard or two before making his awkward attempt.
“It’s going to continually be a work in progress focusing on getting down in those situations, knowing when to fight for extra yards and when not to,” Griffin said after Monday’s game. “The fans have nothing to worry about there. I’ll keep getting better at that, I promise you that.”
If not, this will just be another failed promise by a short-term Washington leader.
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