Washington coach Mike Shanahan acknowledges that Robert Griffin III is not the same quarterback this year as he was last year. But Shanahan believes Griffin can become a better quarterback with time.
Shanahan admitted today that Griffin, who had reconstructive surgery after blowing out his knee in January, isn’t threatening defenses the way he did in 2012. At the same time, Shanahan thinks Griffin can be a great pocket passer with time to develop.
“One of the reasons why we had the success that we had, probably the type of success where he separated himself from every rookie in the history of the game, is he was able to do some things that other quarterbacks couldn’t do,” Shanahan said. “We had a dual threat. Now that threat is not quite there, as strong as it was a year ago. But now we go to a different direction, with our play action, we still run some of the zone reads, so that will come. That maturity will come. But it doesn’t happen overnight. There’s a growing period. If you take a look at so many of these quarterbacks, all the Hall of Fame quarterbacks, they’ve had much tougher periods than we’ve gone through so far. It doesn’t happen overnight, but he’s got all the ability in the world to make that big jump, and you just have to be patient.”
Shanahan is certainly right that many quarterbacks who went on to be Hall of Famers went through difficult periods when they were young. At the same time, if Griffin’s knee prevents him from ever being the same kind of runner he was as a rookie, that would fundamentally change the kind of quarterback he is. That’s a major reason to be concerned about Griffin’s future.