Washington Redskins' new head coach Jay Gruden had one major objective this offseason and it was obvious from the beginning: gain the trust of his quarterback. Robert Griffin III's relationship was basically nonexistent with former head coach Mike Shanahan by the end of the season and it showed on the field. Enter Gruden, who has tirelessly worked to win-over the team's franchise quarterback and will now add even more responsibility to Griffin's shoulders.
Gruden will allow Griffin the opportunity to adjust the offensive play call for the first time in his career.
The debate between armchair quarterbacks and NFL coaching staffs nearly came to a head last season as team's tried to decide if Griffin was going to be an actual behind-the-center quarterback or was simply an athlete that had a cannon for an arm. Shanahan insisted that the only way for Griffin to be effective was to continue and run the read-option play when it was obvious that the quarterback hadn't recovered the burst that made him so effective as a rookie two seasons ago. The blame doesn't solely belong on Shanahan's shoulders as it was obvious that something wasn't entirely right with the second year pro.
Washington will shift to a more quarterback friendly system this year- not completely discarding the read-option but not running it out of every package.
Griffin was sacked 43 times last season with a large number of those coming off of failed protections. Shanahan's system delegated the calling out of protections to the center, which often led to failed pick-ups and forcing Griffin to scramble or to lose significant yardage after being sacked. For the first time in his career, Griffin will be the man to read the defense and shift the protections accordingly.
The added responsibilities is something Griffin is excited about, saying:
“If you’re going to give me more opportunities and allow me to control the offense more, that’s all a quarterback can ever ask for,” Griffin said. “So, I’m excited for the opportunity to do everything, and I think Jay is going to allow me to do that. That’s no pressure. That’s what you want. When you believe in yourself, you trust in yourself, and you trust the guys around you, that’s what you want and all you can ask for.”
Regardless of who the responsibility falls to, it's obvious the Redskins must do a better job this season in giving Griffin ample time to get the ball down the field to newly acquired threats DeSean Jackson and Andre' Roberts.
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