The Redskins have their franchise quarterback signed, sealed, and delivered. Robert Griffin III is under their control for the next five years (the four-year deal plus a team option in the fifth year).
So now what?
Well, once they get RG3 enrolled in the 401k and health care plans, get his direct deposit information (unless he’s going to drop off his $14 million signing bonus check at the drive-through at the bank like Chris Cooley did with his bonus check), and show him where he can park his Chrysler Pacifica, they need to get to work on finding out how to make him—and the Redskins offense—successful.
But how will the go about doing that? Doug Farrar on Yahoo.com says that the Redskins would do well to follow the lead of Rob Chudzinski. He is the Panthers’ offensive coordinator, the man most responsible for Cam Newton enjoying one of the best seasons a rookie NFL quarterback has ever had. What did Chudzinski do?
Not only did Chudzinski set things up in ways that would allow Newton to make more traditional NFL plays from the pocket, but his willingness to weld the playbook Newton had at Auburn in 2010 showed impressive flexibility and open-mindedness that paid big dividends every Sunday in 2011.
"If you go back and look at the things we did offensively and the different types of pass plays off of play-action, drop-back passes, [it was] then incorporating some of the spread offense that he was used to seeing," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said at the 2012 scouting combine. "Our coaches went back and studied some of the Auburn things and looked at that and adapted that to our playbook."
Mike and Kyle Shanahan may not go back and pull plays out of Baylor’s playbook, although we shouldn’t completely discount the possibility. But there already are some things in the Redskins’ offense that Griffin should be able to run effectively.
“I think we can do some things that he feels very comfortable with, with our play action game, our boots, quarterback keeps that fit him perfectly and different things we’ve done through the years that would be very easy, that he could right now and not even think twice,” Mike Shanahan said in May.
The first part of the process of taking him through the paces wearing shorts and a helmet going up against teammates in shorts and helmets already took place in OTA’s and minicamp. The next phase will start the third day of training camp when he and the rest of his teammates put on pads (no pads or contact are allowed in the first two days of training camp per the CBA). Griffin won’t be taking any hits but the intensity does pick up when the hitting starts.
After that, about three weeks from today, the RG3 edition of the playbook will put to the test against players in different-colored uniforms. The Buffalo Bills will be going all out to try to stop Griffin and will be planting their facemasks in his rib cage if the opportunity arises. If he runs, it won’t be two-hand touch to get him down.
There will be review of the film and some plays will be taken off of the active play list and others will be added on. The process will continue the next week in Chicago and then against the Colts and Bucs at FedEx Field.
The intensity ticks up several more notches when the regular season starts in New Orleans on Sept. 9. Plays are in RG3’s comfort zone may not be when he’s not facing a defense resting several starters at the beginning of the game and has substituted out the rest of the first team after the first few series.
And it won’t end there. The process of adjusting and readjusting will continue through the season. RG3 and the Shanahans may find a sweet spot for a few weeks but then the defenses will adjust and plays that were working earlier in the year will have to be scrapped or modified.
The plan is to get the offense moving well enough to improve on last year’s dismal scoring average of 18 points per game (26th in the NFL) and to get Griffin’s career off on the right foot. How successful they are in achieving the latter could go a long way towards determining the quarterback’s career track.