The debate over whether the Washington Redskins need to modify their offense to protect quarterback Robert Griffin III has lingered all offseason, and continued this week. Griffin and Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan both said on Thursday that the quarterback and his coaches are on the same page as far as how he should be handled going forward. But Shanahan remained noncommittal on whether or not the Redskins would eliminate the zone-read and pistol-formation plays from the playbook in an attempt to keep Griffin safe.
Asked for his opinion of the matter, Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams said he doesn’t believe that the Redskins’ use of those types of plays will put Griffin at a greater risk of injury. Williams believes that Griffin will find a balance between aggression and caution as his career progresses.
“You know what? The plays he sustained the injury on, they wasn’t called runs,” Williams said Thursday. “They were him scrambling, and he’s the type of player that’s going to try to turn nothing into something, every snap. So I don’t feel like the offense was hurting him. That’s just Robert. He’s a great, gifted athlete and he’s going to try to get the most out of every play. Sometimes, it can be the best for us – as you saw in the Minnesota game – and sometimes, it can be to the detriment – as you’ve seen in the Ravens game. It’s kind of pick your poison. But, I don’t think this offense is going to limit him any, or put him in harm’s way any. As he gets older, he’ll learn how to get down and avoid contact.”
Griffin said: “I can’t change my mind-set, but I can be smarter about what I do out there.”
His take, and that of Williams sounded similar to that of Mike Shanahan’s.
“Remember,” Shanahan said on Thursday, “the zone read probably gave Robert more time in the pocket than anything else you can do in the National Football League. Where Robert did get hurt was dropping back and doing a couple of scrambles. That’s probably one of the toughest situations for a quarterback is to drop back, look downfield, know when to scramble, know when to slide. It’s just tough. I think every year you get better and better.”
Griffin said he already feels wiser about how to approach the game going forward, and Shanahan said that he will make an even more dramatic jump in terms of feel for the game and instincts next year, and the year after.
“Let me say this: Robert will come back here a few years from now and he’ll laugh, saying, ‘Oh my God, I thought I really did know a lot about the game,’ ” Shanahan said. “That’s as much of a jump as you make every year, especially, coming from almost any type of offense, but with Robert running the type of offense he did at Baylor. It’s a little bit different from a drop-back passing game in the National Football League. But he’s got the ability to make every throw, and the more he plays, the more comfortable he’ll be. And what he was able to accomplish last year, when you think about it, for every time a ball was snapped, he had the most production out of anybody in the National Football League. That doesn’t happen very often as a rookie.”
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