When you're the new coach of a football team, as Jay Gruden is of the Washington Redskins, it's most important to build a solid rapport with the team's returning quarterback.
Robert Griffin III is the returning quarterback of the Redskins, and Gruden has taken the care, recently, to explicitly state to Griffin that the third-year quarterback will not be expected to run the ball -- not as much, at least.
"He's got to pick his shots," Gruden told Sirius XM NFL radio, according to Dan Steinberg. "But I think when you have the ability that he has, I think we'd be foolish not to have some kind of option as far as running the football with him."
Most importantly, I suppose, is that Gruden is forthright in proclaiming that Griffin will not be a drop-back-passing robot.
"Robert's the quarterback and ultimately Robert will play the position the way Robert plays it," Gruden told Andy Pollin. "You know, I'm not gonna turn him into a robot and say, ‘Stay in [the pocket] no matter what.' Part of his effectiveness as a quarterback is his ability to run. But will we have designed runs for him? Maybe not as many as they had last year, but there's a possibility of having those."
RG3 rushed for just 489 yards last season, down from 815 his rookie year. Obviously much of that depreciation had to do with injury, but Gruden seems steadfast in his plan to keep RG3 from running the ball.
"Obviously when we call drop-back passes, we want him to be a drop-back passer, but if things break down like sometimes they do – sometimes guys are covered, they're not open – he needs to be Robert and make good decisions," Gruden told Pollin. "And sometimes throwing it away is a good decision, sometimes running for two yards is a good decision and getting down. So he's got to play the position the way he plays it."
Whoa, whoa, whoa -- what about RG3's bread-and-butter, the read-option? Gruden addressed that as well. His complete thoughts told to Pollin, thanks to Dan Steinberg:
We'll have sprinkles here and there. It's not going to be a major part. I want to make sure that we have other things that we can do besides the read-option, because it takes a toll. You have to practice it a lot to be very good at it. It kind of takes away from the defense's ability a little bit, it takes away from other plays that you need to work on, your protection schemes, your running game, all that stuff. It just takes away from that. So we want to make sure that we work on the core running game that we have, the core drop-back passes we have. And then once we get going, we get those implemented, maybe sprinkle in some read-option.
So, basically, RG3 won't be a robot, he'll kind of run when needed, but also he kind of won't run, if possible.