One way to summarize Jay Gruden’s approach to Robert Griffin III: whatever Mike Shanahan did, do the opposite.
If you want a longer version of that philosophy, witness the Redskins’ coach’s conversation with D.C.’s own Dan Hellie on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access” Monday night.
“He missed the whole offseason last year, the whole preseason,” Gruden said of his quarterback. “So to jump right into the regular season, say here, here’s week one, now be a pocket quarterback, that’s tough, you know what I mean? So they did what they thought they could do with him to be the most effective, but this year we’re gonna try to take the offseason and really hone in on his pocket skills.”
“Much was made this past year about his relationship with the Shanahans,” Hellie then said. “Perhaps the most important relationship you’re going to have in the building — besides the one with Dan Snyder — is gonna be with Robert Griffin III. How do you cultivate that and make sure that that’s always a strong relationship?”
“Um, just try to be honest and open with him and not do things behind his back,” Gruden said. “I don’t know what happened last year with Coach Shanahan and him, and where the relationship went south, or if it did, or maybe the media blew it up.
“But he’s obviously not here anymore,” Gruden said of Shanahan. “Now it’s my job to get the most out of Robert. And I honestly believe that there has to be an open relationship between quarterback and coach-slash-playcaller, to have the comfort level where he can come in and say hey, I honestly don’t like this play, I don’t feel good about it. Or can we run more of this. Or whatever it is. There has to be an open communication for the quarterback to be the most successful. And I welcome that type of atmosphere. Hopefully it will work out.”