Mike Shanahan selected 21 players in the 2011 and 2012 drafts, and the 17 who remain on the roster are set to enter a critical stage in their development. In the coming weeks, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will take a look at what those players have accomplished thus far and what they still must do in order to solidify their status in the NFL.
Who: Robert Griffin III
Draft year/round/pick: 2012/1/2
Career to date:
There isn’t a whole lot more that can be added here to what the world knows about Griffin’s career. He had the meteoric rise to being both rookie of the year and media sensation. Then came the knee injury, the most public rehab in sports history, and the struggles of the 2013 season.
One thing to keep in mind here is that while his 2013 season wasn’t up to the standard he set as a rookie and not what the Redskins need in exchange for everything they gave up to get him, it wasn’t a horrible year by recent team standards. Griffin’s passer rating of 82.2 was the team’s seventh best in the 22 seasons since the Redskins last won the Super Bowl. He was also on pace to pass for 3,940 yards, just off of the pace needed to break the team record for passing yards in a season (4,005 by Brad Johnson in 1999) before he was benched with three games left to play.
The two main areas where Griffin fell off from his 2012 performance involved accuracy. His completion percentage dropped from 65.5 in 2012 to 60.1 last year. And his interceptions went up from five (which was incredibly low for any QB, let alone a rookie) to 12.
Outlook for 2014:
There were man theories concerning what was wrong with Griffin last year. It was the surgically-repaired knee. No, the knee was fine, it was the brace. No, it wasn’t the knee in and of itself, it’s the fact that the rehab cost him an offseason of work. No, it had nothing to do with the knee, he just wasn’t nearly as good as he was as a rookie after defenses figured him out.
The answer is some combination of all of the above and the Redskins brought in ex-quarterback Jay Gruden to solve the problems. Although Gruden delivered what appeared to be mixed messages to some writers last week, it appears that the plan is to have Griffin work as a pocket passer who can run rather than as a running QB who can occasionally drop back in the pocket.
"My goal in training camp is to see how much he can develop as a drop-back passer,” Gruden told Dan Pompei. The implication there is that in two years in the league Griffin hasn’t had very much development in the pocket.
The key will be for Gruden and Griffin to find a “secret sauce”, that just-right blend of drop-back passing, rollouts, read option plays and planned runs that will get Griffin and the Redskins’ offense rolling.
Can they find that mix this year? The sooner they can, the better.