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Mike Shanahan: RG3 and Snyder don’t realize the work it takes to become a pocket passer

Mike Shanahan, Robert Griffin III, Daniel Synder

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, left, shakes hands with Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, right, in front of Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, center, during Baylor’s NFL football pro day, Wednesday, March 21, 2012, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/The Waco Tribune-Herald, Rod Aydelotte)


Mike Shanahan coached Robert Griffin III to a rookie of the year-winning season in 2012, and then coached Griffin during a disastrous season in 2013. Shanahan says the reason Griffin’s career went south is that Griffin and owner Dan Snyder decided that Griffin should be a pocket passer, without considering how hard it would be to change up Washington’s offense.

Shanahan said on the Dan Patrick Show that taking the read-option out of Washington’s offense and turning Griffin into a pocket passer required a lot more time and hard work than Snyder and Griffin understood.

“Once you change schemes, and you want to go to a scheme that really you haven’t done throughout your career, it does take some time. And I don’t think Dan or Robert realized the transition that it was going to take for him to take that step,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan suggested that Griffin and Dan Snyder decided that Griffin should be a pocket passer, against the wishes of the coaches.

“Once the owner and the quarterback decide that the type of offense that we were successful with in 2012, that they don’t want to run a lot of those plays, they want to throw more and run less, and you get a lot of people involved, it takes away from the coach,” Shanahan said.

In fairness to Snyder and Griffin, however, they were motivated by an effort to keep Griffin healthy after he suffered a serious knee injury at the end of his rookie year. But Shanahan believes that Washington should have kept the threat of a quarterback running in the offense, similar to the way the Seahawks have used Russell Wilson’s running ability.

If Griffin is ever going to turn his career around, Shanahan says, he needs to go to a team that will get him using his legs again.

“The question is, everybody’s question, is can he go to another team that runs some of the things we did early in his career when we had a lot of success?” Shanahan said. “Only he can determine if he wants to do that. Over the last couple years he didn’t want to run that type of system so I’m not even sure he wants to do it.”

Now that Kirk Cousins has been named the starting quarterback, Shanahan thinks a good season is coming.

“Washington will be much better than people think they will,” Shanahan said.

If Washington isn’t much better, Snyder may decide to blow the whole thing up, and go shopping for another coach and another quarterback.