Former Redskins coach Mike Shanahan told new Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III in a phone call recently that with patience and the right system he believes Griffin can still be a star in the NFL.
In a radio interview Wednesday with ESPN 980 in Washington D.C., Shanahan said he’d told Rams coach Jeff Fisher that Fisher should sign Griffin and that Griffin had called Shanahan to thank him for doing that. That led to the two talking about their past — and Griffin’s future.
Griffin signed with the Browns last week.
“You’re going to struggle,” Shanahan said he told Griffin. “You’ve got some great talent and that comes in time, but you haven’t been out there the last couple years. It will take some time, but be patient and go back to the things you did great and take advantage of it just like you did as a rookie, but be all in support of whoever’s out there and have some fun.”
Griffin led the Redskins to the NFC East title as a rookie in 2012, setting a record for highest passer rating by a rookie quarterback at 102.4. But Griffin tore his ACL in the playoff game following that season and hasn’t been the same player since. Shanahan was fired after 2013, and the Redskins released Griffin before free agency after he didn’t play at all last season.
Shanahan said he emphasized that Griffin find an offense that allows him to play outside the pocket and showcase his athleticism, and that he believes Browns coach Hue Jackson will do that. Shanahan said he saw Griffin “do some things nobody else has ever done” and that he believes that player can emerge again.
“If he looks back now it would be silly for him to go to a dropback game if that’s all somebody does,” Shanahan said. “To get to the next level, if you haven’t done something there’s a learning curve and it takes a lot of time in that classroom studying film to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a defense to where you don’t have to think, you can react.”