Earlier this week, Jay Gruden told one reporter that he wanted quarterback Robert Griffin III to “be himself” and use his legs when he thought it was necessary. “I would be foolish to try to turn RG3 into a pocket passer,” he told Peter King of MMQB.
Now, a few days later, we hear Gruden singing a different tune.
"My goal in training camp is to see how much he can develop as a drop-back passer," Gruden told Dan Pompei on the Sports on Earth website. "Obviously he can do the rollouts and the naked bootlegs and all that. But let's see what he can do from the pocket, and if he can run from there, that's when he'll really get a lot of yards."
According to Pompei, Gruden still wants Griffin to run, but more as a last resort than as a first resort.
"It's a long season," Gruden said. "It's a 16-game grind. You don't want him getting hit 15, 20 times a game on read options. You have to keep your stars healthy. You don't want to put him at risk too much. But that's who he is. It's what he is as a quarterback. He's very effective in that regard."
The read-option plays that helped Griffin earn virtually all of the major 2012 offensive rookie of the year awards will stay in the playbook—Gruden’s version of them, anyway—but they will be used very sparingly.
"I don't anticipate running a lot of read option," Gruden said. "I think if you use it three or four times a game, you'll have more success than if you try to feature your whole offense around it. It's not just tough on the quarterback taking hits, it's tough on the tackles with their aiming points, where are they going. It's something you have to practice a lot to get very good at."
So is it “foolish” to turn Griffin into a pocket passer? Or is it necessary to do so? The likely answer is that after just over two weeks on the job, Gruden is still putting together a playbook and hasn’t figure out exactly how he’s going to utilize the franchise’s most important player.
Perhaps Gruden should wait until he gets everything sorted out before he talks to anyone else about his plans for Griffin. Or perhaps he should just wait until the season starts and then show us.