Five years ago, the Redskins were fresh off drafting Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 overall pick. Moving up the board to take Griffin was an expensive gamble, but the early returns were more than encouraging; RG3 won offensive rookie of the year and played a big role in the Redskins' seven-game winning streak that catapulted the Redskins to the division title and the playoffs.
But that rookie season proved to be an aberration; injuries and inconsistency plagued Griffin's final three years in Washington, and last offseason he ended up signing with the Browns. More injuries, more inconsistency and Griffin is again looking for work.
So what happened? New 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who was the Redskins' offensive coordinator when Griffin arrived -- and is credited with getting the most out of Griffin his rookie season -- has some thoughts on the matter.
"When you look at all of these quarterbacks," Shanahan said during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show last week (via NFL.com), "there's a lot of guys who have the ability to do it. But it's how are you going to put a system together that gives them their best chance to be successful? And how are you going to put guys around them? ...
"You've got to make sure you tailor an offense that fits his skill set," Shanahan said of Griffin. "I look into all of that and I think one thing that's tough when a guy's not your for-sure starter, you need to put in a certain offense to give this guy a chance to be successful.
"That's tough to do when a guy's not your for-sure starter because it's not just about him. It's about the O-line, it's about the running backs, it's about the receivers and it's certainly tough to design an offense around a quarterback when he's competing to be your backup -- if it's different than the rest of the (personnel)."
If this sounds familiar, Shanahan echoed similar sentiments in April about another dual-threat quarterback who had success early in his career but is now a free agent.
"If you bring in a quarterback who is the best when he's a dual threat and can do all those type of things, that affects an entire offense," Shanahan said at the time, speaking about former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. "That doesn't just affect one guy. That's a huge commitment to your entire team. So, when you bring in someone like that when you're going to have to tinker the offense to fit one player, you've got to know you're tinkering every single person on that offense, too. So, when it comes to the quarterback and some O-linemen, you look into that a little bit more. After that, I think it's all pretty overrated."
While the Seahawks have recently shown interest in Kaepernick, there have been no reports of teams looking to bring in Griffin, who in 40 career starts has 42 touchdown passes and 26 interceptions.