When Washington faces San Francisco on Monday night, we’ll see the two quarterbacks whose ability to run the read-option offense took the NFL by storm in 2012.
We’ll also see two quarterbacks whose passing abilities have been a disappointment in 2013.
According to Washington coach Mike Shanahan, however, no one should be overly disappointed with either Robert Griffin III or Colin Kaepernick this season. Instead, Shanahan says, the seasons that both young quarterbacks are having are exactly what should be expected for young quarterbacks who didn’t come out of a pro-style offense in college.
“If you’re talking about Robert or if you’re talking about a guy like Kaepernick, everybody comes from different [college] systems and when you go to the National Football League and you’re working with a drop-back passing game and you haven’t done a lot of that, it takes some repetition,” Shanahan said in a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Whoever has been in those shoes realizes that it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes practice, it takes repetition, going against different coverages, understanding the strength and weaknesses and just becoming more comfortable in passing situations.”
Shanahan said the key to Griffin and Kaepernick getting better is living and breathing football.
“That’s part of the process of the NFL quarterback that it is hard, the amount of hours that you have to spend studying film, going through your progressions, studying defenses,” Shanahan said. “It’s 24 hours a day, not only during the season but the offseason, to get to that elite level. Everybody is going to have a year or two that is better than the other, but for that consistency, you need a guy that loves football, loves studying because there’s so many different parts. That’s one of the reasons I think it’s the hardest position in sports to play.”
If Griffin and Kaepernick hadn’t had such spectacular seasons last year, the way they’re playing this year wouldn’t feel so disappointing. But the reality is neither quarterback is as good now as he was a year ago. Not only have they not become pocket passers overnight, but they even appear to have regressed. That has to be a concern to their coaches, even if Shanahan isn’t ready to sound the alarm.