|Worth remembering: RG3 is still a rookie. (US PRESSWIRE)|
When the Redskins traded their 2012 first-round pick, two future first-rounders and a 2012 second-rounder for the right to move up from No. 6 to No. 2 in April's draft to take Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, we figured that it was do-or-die time for coach Mike Shanahan. In his first two seasons as coach, Washington went 6-10 and 5-11. Given owner Daniel Snyder's predilection for next best thing, it was reasonable to assume that another losing season -- especially with RG3 now on the roster -- would end the Shanahan era in D.C.
Apparently not. Snyder, who once collected past-their-prime big-name players like he was assembling a Madden all-century team, has allowed Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen to handle the day-to-day personnel decisions. And it also sounds like the once-impulsive owner has developed some patience, too.
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“It takes a long time when you bring in a new staff, also, that really wants to change our defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4. That takes a few years to really get clicking. You've just got to be patient,” Snyder during an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio (by way of the Sports Bog's Dan Steinberg). “I was very very patient with Joe Gibbs for quite some time, and we got close a few times. And I would have loved him to stay til he turned 80, but he had to retire. You're searching for the right combination. I think we've got that now.”
So while RG3 has been a public relations dream since joining the Redskins this spring, coaches, fans and media will also have to be patient as he deals with the rigors of what it means to be an NFL quarterback. Through the first week of training camp he's looked like, well, a rookie. Which isn't necessarily surprising since he is a rookie, but this is Washington, where expectations don't always match reality.
The Washington Examiner's John Keim describes RG3's 10th training camp practice as looking very much like the previous nine: "Robert Griffin III drops back in the pocket, holds the ball for two… three… four … seconds and then either starts up in the pocket or the play ends. In Griffin's defense, there's one good thing about this: He's not looking to run the second a play breaks down. Rather, he keeps his eyes downfield."
To reiterate: Griffin's a rookie, making rookie mistakes in less than two weeks on the job.
“Sometimes in practice I try to err on the side of not throwing the ball into coverage a little too much,” Griffin said Monday. “Our defenders know what's coming at them. In a game things will open up a lot more and I'll get the ball out of my hands. It comes with time. You have to learn when to run and when not to run and when to throw the ball into the dirt.”
There is no cause for concern, at least not yet. RG3 is the starter -- and he should be -- but getting acclimated to the NFL, especially coming from Baylor's spread offense, takes time. And we're not talking about the rest of training camp, but possibly the entire season. Even optimists seem to agree on this.
In CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman's Redskins season preview he noted: "Many scouts privately say differently. They reiterate and reiterate some more that Griffin is an accurate passer (far more than generally appreciated) and they believe that accuracy will translate into the pros quickly. Not three years from now. Not two. But next year."
And if Snyder keeps his word and remains patient, even better. But here's the problem with patience: what happens if RG3 needs more than a season or two before it all comes together? We were reminded of a statistical analysis of the Rams-Redskins trade by Kevin Meers of the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective who found that "for the Redskins to get the equivalent value from RG3 as they spent acquiring him, he must produce at least as much as Tom Brady."
Given the Redskins' recent ineptitude at quarterback, we're guessing the organization would settle for something less than Brady and still consider the trade a resounding success. For now, though, we wait.
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