Former Redskins coach Mike Shanahan still has plenty to say about his former team, and his former quarterback. Shanahan and Robert Griffin III had one of the franchise's best runs in 2012, specifically a seven-game win streak to close out the year and win the NFC East. Things unraveled quickly, however, once RG3 injured his knee, and in the three subsequent seasons, Griffin has rarely looked like the same player.
To Shanahan, Griffin's struggles since his rookie year are not due to injuries.
"I don't think getting hurt has anything to do with it," Shanahan said of RG3 on the Grant and Danny Show on 106.7 The Fan.
The struggles, per Shanahan, are due to system changes.
After his rookie season, where Griffin's running ability catapulted the Redskins offense but also caused the QB to take a lot of tough hits, Shanahan said the word came from Griffin as well as owner Dan Snyder to have less quarterback runs. With less running for Griffin, the second year player was forced into more of a drop back passer role. Shanahan said RG3 was not ready for that, and while he has the physical tools, becoming a drop back passer will continue to take time for Griffin because he has no experience doing it.
"In college he didn't have a route tree, didn't have a playbook," Shanahan said of Griffin's transition to a pocket passer. "That does take some time."
The results show that Shanahan is correct. RG3's best season, by a large margin, came when the read-option was an integral part of the 'Skins offense in 2012. In the years since, Griffin's interception totals have increased, while his accuracy and touchdown totals have decreased.
"If you take a QB like that you must run the kind of system that allows them to be successful," the coach said.
An interesting note from Shanahan's interview came when the former coach talked about the seven-game win streak that closed the 2012 season. The former coach explained that during the bye week, where the 'Skins sat with a 3-6 record, the team changed the gameplan for Griffin, only having the QB key on half the field. Simplifying the offense helped Griffin, and in the two games following the bye, RG3 threw for eight touchdowns, matching his total from the first nine games of the season.
"I really believe Robert thought he was more of a drop back quarterback," Shanahan said.
"He hasn't done things the NFL asks you to do. It does take some growing pains," the coach said. "You better really work on it inside and out."