Mike Shanahan: RG3 and Snyder don’t realize the work it takes to become a pocket passer

AP

Mike Shanahan coached Robert Griffin III to a rookie of the year-winning season in 2012, and then coached Griffin during a disastrous season in 2013. Shanahan says the reason Griffin’s career went south is that Griffin and owner Dan Snyder decided that Griffin should be a pocket passer, without considering how hard it would be to change up Washington’s offense.

Shanahan said on the Dan Patrick Show that taking the read-option out of Washington’s offense and turning Griffin into a pocket passer required a lot more time and hard work than Snyder and Griffin understood.

“Once you change schemes, and you want to go to a scheme that really you haven’t done throughout your career, it does take some time. And I don’t think Dan or Robert realized the transition that it was going to take for him to take that step,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan suggested that Griffin and Dan Snyder decided that Griffin should be a pocket passer, against the wishes of the coaches.

“Once the owner and the quarterback decide that the type of offense that we were successful with in 2012, that they don’t want to run a lot of those plays, they want to throw more and run less, and you get a lot of people involved, it takes away from the coach,” Shanahan said.

In fairness to Snyder and Griffin, however, they were motivated by an effort to keep Griffin healthy after he suffered a serious knee injury at the end of his rookie year. But Shanahan believes that Washington should have kept the threat of a quarterback running in the offense, similar to the way the Seahawks have used Russell Wilson’s running ability.

If Griffin is ever going to turn his career around, Shanahan says, he needs to go to a team that will get him using his legs again.

“The question is, everybody’s question, is can he go to another team that runs some of the things we did early in his career when we had a lot of success?” Shanahan said. “Only he can determine if he wants to do that. Over the last couple years he didn’t want to run that type of system so I’m not even sure he wants to do it.”

Now that Kirk Cousins has been named the starting quarterback, Shanahan thinks a good season is coming.

“Washington will be much better than people think they will,” Shanahan said.

If Washington isn’t much better, Snyder may decide to blow the whole thing up, and go shopping for another coach and another quarterback.

90 responses to “Mike Shanahan: RG3 and Snyder don’t realize the work it takes to become a pocket passer

  1. Fans love hearing about a meddling owner who loves a player that’ll never help the team succeed again, oh the joy.

  2. “In fairness to Snyder and Griffin, however, they were motivated by an effort to keep Griffin healthy after he suffered a serious knee injury at the end of his rookie year.”

    Little Danny is motivated first and foremost by finding new ways to empty his mindless fan’s pocketbooks. RG3’s health was a condition to getting many of those fans to keep buying in.

  3. They could be better than we think they will be and still suck. Not like there’s not much difference between 3-13 and 4-12.

  4. Count the number of teams where you hear about what type of offense the OWNER wants!

    This is why the Redskins can’t have nice things.

  5. Dan Snyder is the worst owner in the league. The trade for RG3 will go down as the WORST trade in NFL history. There isn’t much hope for Washington until Snyder changes the name and sells the team

  6. Thank you for not using the team name “Redskins”… A lot of white people might have had to be offended on behalf of Native Americans, who don’t care.

  7. The whole Washington area sports teams are a joke. Redskins will finish last as Cousins throws interception after interception leading to his benching. Then RG knee comes back in and gets hurt. Then they will have the number 1 pick next year. All the experts have them as a 32 power ranking…….wow.

  8. tacomatiger said:

    “Dan Snyder is the worst owner in the league. The trade for RG3 will go down as the WORST trade in NFL history”

    ======================================

    As bad as that RGIII trade was, there will never, ever, EVER be a trade in the NFL that will hold a candle to the Herschel Walker deal. If you’re too young to know about that trade, Google it.

  9. hmm.. interesting. so Griffin doesnt want to run an offense that caters to his strengths?? he just isnt used properly… wrong systen for him. i was always inder the impression that it was the coaches decision to change the system. guess not?

  10. Shanahan has a point. It would be interesting to see how RG3 would play as Wilson’s backup on the Seahawks. Their play book would allow RG3 to use more of his natural skill set.
    Still, his trouble reading defenses could doom his career like it has many good college QBs who couldn’t make the transition to the NFL.

  11. If Dan Snyder wants to “blow things up” in a way that will lead to the restoration of the team’s long lost winning ways, he needs to start by becoming a silent owner, including behind the scenes. Enjoy all the perks that come with being the superfan that owns the franchise, but realize you are that and only that–as the past 16 disastrous years prove. Do not attempt to lead in any way beyond speaking into the team’s philanthropy. Give a team President or the GM complete administrative control and let the head coach be an actual head coach.

  12. If Shanahan was still the coach there, guaranteed they will win more games. I doubt Gruden will last another year, regardless who the starting qb is. Glad Vikings got Zimmer instead.

  13. Just move on from rg3 and move forward this season with cousins. There’s enough talent on the roster to be competitive. Just let go of the distractions and compete in the division that gets way too much media attention.

  14. Shanahan can’t have it both ways. If the key to RG’s success was mobility, then Shanahan should not have played RG in that post season game, when RG’s mobility was severly compromised.

    Therein lies the problem Snyder had with Shanahan. Shanahan compromised a serious team investment with those last two post season carries. And then rushed RG back onto the field the next year.

  15. No worries. The NFL will authorize another smear campaign against the Patriots and no one will notice the disfunction in DC.
    Word is ESPN has a team of handpicked “reporters” ready to paste “unnamed sources” into any story Goodell authorizes.

  16. The Dan Snyder effect.

    This same thing happened with LaVar Arrington and Clinton Portis. Snyder gets too close to the star player which subsequently undermines the coaching staff.

    Dan probably didn’t have a lot of friends growing up, so now he has to buy them.

    This team will never succeed until Dan Snyder is gone which is going to be a loooong time.

    I promise PFT readers…my team used to be really good.

  17. Shanahan’s point is right but people do seem to forget that Shanahan ran an obviously hurt Griffin out there in the second half of the Seahawks playoff game and basically destroyed Griffin’s knee and any chance he had to be a great running QB after that.

  18. I don’t agree with Shanahan much but he is right on about this. He took all the blame for RGIII getting injured. A QB can take himself out if he can’t run.

    Phillip Rivers played a playoff game with a torn ACL against the Patriots in 2008. He didn’t blame any coaches for putting him out there. Romo played with a broken back, it happens all the time. RGIII wanted to be out there so own up to that.

    RGIII when he’s in the pocket, you can tell he wants to improvise, that is why it takes so long for him to pass the ball. He can’t do the boring checkdown QB role.

  19. Snyder knows nothing about football! Keep losing big time Snyder! Hope the fans stay away from the stadium so you get the hint that you are just an owner not a coach or GM!

  20. Shannahan, this one is on you.

    Even as a running QB, you should teach RG III not to run like a Andalusian horse, instead run like Brees or Flacco. Andalusian horse is for show (off).

  21. Worst decision to get rid of Shanahan and Griffin chasing him out like he did… They knew how to utilize him correctly. As a Cowboys fan, it makes me happy but it’s a shame for RG3 and the Skins.

  22. It’s obvious to any non-homer football fan that RG3 and Snyder were the problem, not Shanahan.

    As to the playoff game, there’s lots of revisionist history here in an to make yourselves feel better to blame the guy who was fired instead of blaming the guys still causing the problems. It was RG3 who stamped his foot and insisted on playing, even going over the coach’s head to Snyder who forced the coaches to play RG3. Shanahan didn’t want to play RG3 in the playoff game.

  23. Regardless on how anyone feels about Mike Shanahan, he’s 100% correct regarding this subject. Synder and RGIII assumed that since Griffin is an athlete, a transition to pocket passing would be quick and easy. They didn’t consider that the best pocket QBs started developing pocket skills in High school. This is why playing in a pro-style offense in college matters so much. RGIII and Manziel came from “go out and make something happen” offenses and their careers are in jeopardy. Bridgewater played in a pro-style offense and there are no questions about his skills.

  24. Perhaps the NFL should encourage college teams to run Pro style offenses instead of ‘joystick QB’ game plans which seldom result in success in the NFL… (with a few notable exceptions)

    Then players such as RG3 would be better prepared for life as a pro and the Shanahans of the world would not have to result to perilous play calling to try to win games.

  25. Not a Shanahan nor a griffin fan, but he does make a point. As a scrambling QB, you would need to learn how to be an effective pocket passer and to do so, it will take some work. But, and also, his point at this time is really moot.

    What’s he trying to accomplish? If both Snyder and griffin don’t realize this, does he think him making this statement would suddenly ring a bell in both of their ears?

    Non-story, we all know the only thing Snyder knows is how to be an unsuccessful (football) franchise owner. With griffin, well, we all know what he knows…..

  26. This would be more intertwining if Snyder was in love with Tebow and forced him to be the qb despite the coaches

  27. Well, if Shanahan’s comments are true, then that is a really a sad testament to how dysfunctional the Rojoskins have become. There aren’t a lot of teams out there where the owner and the QB dictate to the coach what he is going to do. I’m pretty sure that none of those teams has ever won a Superbowl.

  28. steelcitywhitty says:

    Therein lies the problem Snyder had with Shanahan. Shanahan compromised a serious team investment with those last two post season carries. And then rushed RG back onto the field the next year.
    =======================================

    Eh, I never bought that. If he benches Griffin and loses then he gets bashed for that as well. Griffin is a big boy. Every coach Snyder hires fails, gets crucified by the fans and never gets another head coaching job. You would think after awhile everyone would realize it’s not the coaches that are the problem.

  29. The sooner Robert is out of the town the better. Only reason they are holding onto him is so Chip won’t pick him up.

  30. So Snyder and RG III dictated to Shanahan what type of offense he had to run?
    I think things went off the rails when Shanahan left RG III in went he wasn’t 100% and he blew out his knee.
    Why would RG III and Snyder want to change what brought RG III the rookie of the year award?

  31. I agree with Shanahan. When the quarterback can bypass the coach and go to the owner to change the entire scheme of the offense to something that requires him to do things that he has no idea how to do (read defenses, go through progressions, audible SUCCESSFULLY at the line of scrimmage) he got exactly what he deserves. Will he be able to go to another team and be successful as a pocket passer; ABSOLUTELY NOT! He’s a bust! I’ve been a skins fan for over 40 years. This guy is a complete BUST! He’ll be out of the league completely in 3 years.

  32. “Romo played with a broken back, it happens all the time.”
    ____________________

    A broken back? Uh, OK “Doctor”.

  33. This is all about Vendetta on the part of Shanahan. Kicking a guy while he is down and demoralized. If he let a QB and owner change his offense, he deserved to be fired. WEAK!

    I don’t have a dog in this dustup. But All I read and hear is 2 coaches (Shanahan & Gruden) sliming and undermining RG3 and indirectly the owner. And doing it through a sensationalist media looking for slime, dirt and lies to feed their gossip (masquerading as news). I hear nothing negative coming from RG3, Snyder or Allen. I suspect everyone will be shocked how all of this plays out in the long run. But RG3 being a “Bust” is not happening IMO in the long ruin. You don’t do what he did his rookie year from bust or luck. That was skill and scheme. He’ll get both back IMO. And in Washington. WIth a coach dedicated to helping him and the team succeed, instead of dividing it.

  34. 5280broncosfan says:
    Sep 9, 2015 12:00 PM

    Regardless on how anyone feels about Mike Shanahan, he’s 100% correct regarding this subject. Synder and RGIII assumed that since Griffin is an athlete, a transition to pocket passing would be quick and easy. They didn’t consider that the best pocket QBs started developing pocket skills in High school. This is why playing in a pro-style offense in college matters so much. RGIII and Manziel came from “go out and make something happen” offenses and their careers are in jeopardy. Bridgewater played in a pro-style offense and there are no questions about his skills.
    ——————————————————
    Exactly.

    There is an UDFA we signed this year by the Vikings named Taylor Heinicke. He is now a back-up for Bridgewater. He happens to be a pro-style QB. He had very good preseason. I watched him play and came away very impressed. The Vikes put him on the 53 player roster because if they tried to waive him and get him back or if they tried to put him on the practice squad, another team would surely go after him. Smart move Vikes.

    REMEMBER – A PRO -STYLE QB THAT I WOULD RATHER HAVE THAN RGIII.

  35. Yeah, because running your QB on deep wideout plays is so much smarter. It wasn’t going to last whether you stuck with it or not, Mike, or maybe you’ve missed that he’s not outrunning people anymore mainly because you were running that offense his first year instead of doing the so called hard work that you’re once again trying to lay the blame at the feet of a player you were responsible for developing. The league gets a book on everything once they get a look at it, just ask Michael Vick who was a little bit faster and as much as people tried to prop up Griffin his rookie year, a better QB than him as far as going through progressions and passing from the pocket when he first played.

    But who is surprised, just ask the last 7 DCs over his last 7 years in Denver what was his fault.

  36. Shanarat looks to be correct about Snyder & Griffin. But that doesn’t change the fact that he is himself a power-hungry egomaniac whose overall record was mediocre without a HOF QB taking snaps for his teams.

  37. Snyder fired a 2-time Super Bowl winner after 2 years because he listened to his rookie QB rather than the coach. Smart move.

  38. I still think Mike Shanahan was the right coach for the Redskins, he just had an owner that wouldn’t give him the chance. You can’t go and get a new head coach every couple years. It takes time to build a franchise up. Every time you fire/hire a new coach, it’s like starting all over again. I also still think if Shanahan has his say, RGIII would have never been a Redskins in the first place and Cousins would have been the starter that first season. Not saying Cousins is the answer, he hasn’t proven anything yet, but at least now we’ll get to see what he can do now that it’s “his” team.

  39. tennesseeoilers says:
    Sep 9, 2015 11:31 AM

    If Dan Snyder wants to “blow things up” in a way that will lead to the restoration of the team’s long lost winning ways, he needs to start by becoming a silent owner, including behind the scenes. Enjoy all the perks that come with being the superfan that owns the franchise, but realize you are that and only that–as the past 16 disastrous years prove. Do not attempt to lead in any way beyond speaking into the team’s philanthropy. Give a team President or the GM complete administrative control and let the head coach be an actual head coach.

    ^^^^^^This comment right here, makes too much sense for Dan Snyder to follow.

  40. RObert Brittle The Nerd doesnt have the legs to run the Read Option offense anymore. His ability to be a pocket passer just is NOT there. He doesn’t have any of the tools, field vision, timing, anticipation, pocket presence, escapability. The Skins despite all of the crazy off the field drama this offseason will actually be marginally better. I think they will win 6-7 games a come up from winning 4 last yeae and 3 the year before. The way Kirk moves the offense they will be competitive in a lot more games this year. I think year 2 in an offensive system usually sees an uptick. I think KC did the offseason work and will flourish this season.

  41. Coaches decide what offense they want to run–not players and not owners. If Shanny thought that keeping the read-option was best for his team and his offense and RGIII, he should have stuck with it and told RGME and Snyder to get lost. Or he should have called a press conference, announced that the owner and QB were preventing him from doing his job, and then resigned. Had Shanny done that instead of kow-towing to the owner, he might still be a head coach.

  42. The people who keep parroting this nonsense seem to forget that this team was 3-6 when they went on that run. Basically, it was like the Dolphin 11-5 season with the wildcat. It was a lot of smoke and mirrors and a bunch of favorable matchups for Washington with teams that had never seen Griffin at qB before. When you take a spread QB, especially from Baylor’s spread which is even more remedial than even the others are, you will have to teach everything from scratch as far as progressions, route trees, etc. So Shanahan just admitted that he never planned to do that, lol. Basically, so he’s never been properly coached at the pro level since Gruden I think we’ve all seen was not interested in it when he got there. Anybody left still hanging out on the “Shanahan was right” tree because it’s pretty flimsy with this inadvertent admission? It’s why Andy Reid is the actual QB guru within the HC fraternity and these other guys are clowns who get that reputation. That’s why when he gets cut, that’s the first call I would have my agent make and just sit and try to learn from him. If it doesn’t work under Reid, it’s not for him.

  43. richardernsberger says:
    Sep 9, 2015 2:00 PM
    Coaches decide what offense they want to run–not players and not owners. If Shanny thought that keeping the read-option was best for his team and his offense and RGIII, he should have stuck with it and told RGME and Snyder to get lost. Or he should have called a press conference, announced that the owner and QB were preventing him from doing his job, and then resigned. Had Shanny done that instead of kow-towing to the owner, he might still be a head coach.
    _________________________
    Well you forgot the Mike did call out RG3 for refusing to run certain plays and he eventually got himself fired by pointing to the fact that Snyder and RG3 were on the same page and nobody else was

  44. Shanahan is speaking the truth…after Griffin got hurt his agents, father, advisors etc., convinced him the way not to get hurt was to become a pocket passer, which is the antithesis of what Griffin brings to the table, as the evidence has shown with being benched. You put him back to 2012 and he was great. Just watch the tape. The way to not get hurt is to slide, not change your entire skill set.

  45. RGs success came on an offense tailored for his skill set, which has since been figured out.
    anybody ever heard of matt cassel? had a great year when brady went down, actually won 11 games that year.
    KC took a chance, Vikings took a chance, just got cut by buffalo, then re-signed, but because of that one year they still give him a chance.
    2012 was the worst thing that happened to RG, because everybody on thinking he can do it again?
    time to let other teams try and fix him.

  46. He’s right, of course. But the first mistake was his. When RG3 went down in that beautifully constructed offense, he needed a backup to come in without missing a beat.

    If it was Dave Garrard or Tarvaris Jackson they would have managed to hold that lead and beat Seattle in Washington in the playoffs. No foresight, Shanahan.

  47. What strikes me as funny, is that the redskins gave up a king’s ransom to move up a few spots to get RGIII, when they could have remained pat, drafted the best OL or DE available and still had Russell Wilson (who has already won a Super Bowl and came close again last year) in the 2nd or 3rd round. Maybe Shanahan would still be the Coach. Also, Wilson would have had no problem running the read option.

  48. I tend to listen to Shanahan on this subject because of a similar situation years before. Steve Young was traded by Tampa Bay to the 49ers because he wasn’t having much success. He really wasn’t having too much success in San Francisco either, until Mike Shanahan got ahold of him. The 49ers, prior to Shanahan, were trying to change Young into a strict pocket passer because that was how they “taught” Montana to do it. Young, like RG3, was best when he was a threat to run. Shanahan was able to utilize Young’s skills, instead of trying to copy what Montana could do (Montana had a different skill set). He allowed Young to utilize his mobility in a way that opened up the passing game for Young. Had Shanny not come along, Young would not be the same QB that he turned out to be. Young was more than willing to put in the hard work. It doesn’t sound like RG3 is. You can hate Shanahan all you want, but the guy knows what he’s talking about.

  49. What is Shanahan talking about here? The mobile qb thing didnt work. Kaepnick cant do it, and RG3 couldnt do it. Eventually a qb has to learn to be a pocket passer.

  50. shanahan is not wrong in his explanation. it’s just that once RG got hurt and became less mobile, Shanahan did not adjust his offense. He wanted to continue using the mobility principles that were successful when his QB was no longer mobile enough for those principles.

    This lack of his former mobility is why RG felt he needed to utilize more pocket QB principles and less mobility QB principles after the injury.

  51. Shanahan is like the NFL league office. He keeps trying to distract people from how poor of job he did. Was Robert Griffin sabotaging him from Baylor? I recall the team stinking before RG3 got there.

    I also recall Shanahan “staking his reputation” on John Beck and Rex Grossman. How quickly people forget about that. Or how turned a team that had perennial top 10 defense with the 4-3, into a 3-4 defense that is perennially in the bottom 10. There is a reason that virtually everyone Snyder has canned in his disastrous run as Redskins’ owner has gotten new coaching job but Mike Shanahan.

  52. I totally agree with Mike S… u drafted RG3 to run the read option not to be a pocket passer. He didn’t even get hurt on read option plays both times. Both times it was on an unscripted scramble. Let him do what u brought him in for. If he gets hurt again then it happens. It’s better than what’s happening right now.

  53. @abninf says:
    Sep 9, 2015 12:31 PM
    steelcitywhitty says:

    If he benches Griffin and loses then he gets bashed for that as well.
    ======================

    NO one bashes a coach for benching an injured player.

  54. Shanahan is correct but with an owner like Daniel Snyder, the team doesn’t have a chance. Meddling interfering billionaires who think that they know everything are the very worst type of owners. This team will continue to struggle while Dan is there. He can’t help himself but get involved and guess what? He keeps making terrible mistakes. RG3 probably could have had a great career if he’d been drafted elsewhere.
    The big question is how do you get an idiot billionaire owner to sell the team? Sorry Redskins fans, you’re stuck with him.

  55. RGMe is rverything wrong with most of these modern day prima donnas. He thinks he is the greatest thing since sliced bread when he had 1 good year.

    His injury was unfortunate for sure, however, Im glad Gruden stuck up and said ive had enough of theis gossip Queen. RGMe doesnt want to put the work in to improve. He thinks hes right and his coaches don’t know what they are talking about because everyone has kissed his behind all his life.

    College Spread Offense skills dont translate to NFL skills unless you put the work in

  56. Of course Shanahan is right. However, Shanahan was President of the team. He took the team for another $14 million after going a direction he knew would fail, if you believe him now. Don’t you think that is another reason why no NFL team is offering him any job?

  57. Shanahan put RG3 in to play because he was the quarterback. He did what he thought was best and what RG3 and all of us wanted at the time. He held Robert out the next preseason because it was best for Robert and eventually put in Cousins because it was best for Robert who’s confidence was being shaken. Unlike the Browns who seem to relish in destroying potential QBs he did what was best for all. Now he found a way to make Robert a success and unfortunately Roberts body cannot take the hits that he has. If you watch those hits again you see a man who’s limbs are flying in all directions who’s joint are being stressed beyond what they can handle. I think the dislocated ankle proves that it is just in his physiology. In my whole life I have never seen or heard of a person dislocating their ankle. I am old enough to remember the Redskins before Snyder. I am old enough to remember all of the great coaches Snyder has hired and fired. We are talking about great coaches, some are hall of fame coaches. Oh the good old days.

  58. A lot of people outside of the DMV (DC Maryland Virginia ) don’t realize that RGIII with the help of Dan Snyder forced his way back in the games even while hurt. Even we blamed Shanahan at first, but then most of the area realized that RGIII had Snyder’s ear it all starts to make sense. Outsiders don’t get to see and hear how arrogant and self righteous RGIII is, his incensant need to post comments and defend/explain himself. RGIII wants to be a pocket passers but he sucks at it and was enable by the stupid owner.

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