The Washington Post

Jay Gruden: RGIII won’t be ‘a robot’

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III waits to drive the pace car for the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup auto race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Va., Saturday, April 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (Steve Helber/AP)

Jay Gruden has been asked so many dozens of questions about Robert Griffin III’s mobility over the past few months, yet he’s still managed to deliver several interesting opinions.

To Peter King: “I’m not going to try to turn RGIII into Andy Dalton or Drew Brees. He isn’t them. They’re not him. I would be foolish to try to turn RGIII into a pocket passer. It would be foolish. The way he is as a runner, we have to take advantage of that.”

To Dan Hellie: “This year we’re gonna try to take the offseason and really hone in on his pocket skills.”

To SiriusXM NFL Radio: “He’s got to pick his shots. But I think when you have the ability that he has, I think we’d be foolish not to have some kind of option as far as running the football with him.”

The Redskins’ new head coach expanded even further on this thoughts this week during an interview with SportsTalk 570’s Andy Pollin. It’s entirely possible that Griffin will not carry the ball as many times this season as Gruden will answer questions about Griffin carrying the ball. Anyhow.

“Robert’s the quarterback and ultimately Robert will play the position the way Robert plays it,” Gruden told Pollin. “You know, I’m not gonna turn him into a robot and say, ‘Stay in [the pocket] no matter what.’ Part of his effectiveness as a quarterback is his ability to run. But will we have designed runs for him? Maybe not as many as they had last year, but there’s a possibility of having those.

“Obviously when we call drop-back passes, we want him to be a drop-back passer, but if things break down like sometimes they do – sometimes guys are covered, they’re not open – he needs to be Robert and make good decisions. And sometimes throwing it away is a good decision, sometimes running for two yards is a good decision and getting down. So he’s got to play the position the way he plays it.”

Then Pollin brought up the read-option, the fodder for debate and manna for sports-radio hosts and bane of communal unity.

“We’ll have sprinkles here and there,” Gruden said. “It’s not going to be a major part. I want to make sure that we have other things that we can do besides the read-option, because it takes a toll. You have to practice it a lot to be very good at it. It kind of takes away from the defense’s ability a little bit, it takes away from other plays that you need to work on, your protection schemes, your running game, all that stuff. It just takes away from that. So we want to make sure that we work on the core running game that we have, the core drop-back passes we have. And then once we get going, we get those implemented, maybe sprinkle in some read-option.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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