The Washington Redskins will have to help rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III with their play-calling approach in his first regular season game Sunday at New Orleans, coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday.

“You’d better do that,” Shanahan said. “You’d better not call the same game with a rookie as you are with a five-, 10-year vet, someone that’s experienced. What you’ve got to do is get a feel for what they do best, what they’re most comfortable with… I think if you look back through history, you don’t want that rookie quarterback to have to win you games all the time. That’s why you’ve got to play with great defense and hopefully have an excellent running game, to take a little bit of pressure off of that quarterback.”

Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan in training camp (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The circumstances of the game—whether the Redskins have a lead or are facing a deficit, the time on the clock—affect the way plays are called, Shanahan said. But he suggested that, in general, the Redskins are likely to try to ease the burden on Griffin.

Of course, Griffin and the rest of the Redskins offense might have to try to keep pace with the Saints. Drew Brees, the New Orleans quarterback, set a single-season NFL record for passing yards a year ago.

“To have the success they’ve had, you’ve got to have it all,” Shanahan said. “You’ve got to have a great scheme. You’ve got to have excellent personnel. You have to have great quarterback play. They’ve had great quarterback play. He’s probably as good as there is in the game right now. He makes very few mistakes. He has pinpoint accuracy. He knows the strengths and weaknesses of defenses. He does a great job of putting them in the right play at the right time—everything that you look for in a quarterback.”



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