Jon Gruden is known as one of the most astute judges of quarterbacks working today, but when it came to enigmatic Redskins star Robert Griffin III, the best grade Gruden could give was an “incomplete.”
Gruden trekked out to Richmond, Virginia, this week to take in the Washington Redskins training camp. Jon’s brother Jay just took over as coach of the Redskins, and has a history of working with “running” quarterbacks who turned into pocket passers. Jay has coached both Randall Cunningham and Hall of Famer Steve Young, who followed a template that RGIII could not be on path for.
But as Griffin tries to rely less on his legs to make plays and more on his arm, there will need to be some time to adjust, Jon Gruden says.
Speaking to approximately 100 coaches at a clinic put on the by Redskins Charitable Foundation, Gruden said:
“Everyone wants to know how [Griffin is] doing in this new offense. Let’s be honest, he just started. How can you tell? They haven’t even put on pads yet. This could be a period of a couple years where he transforms his game to a different level hopefully. He’s coming along quickly.
“This is going to be a process. It’s going to take a little time, but he clearly has the aptitude, intelligence and talent to be a great quarterback in this league no matter what offense you run. I’m going to temper everything — it’s the first day I’ve seen. But all signs are good.”
Gruden said it wouldn’t take all that long for Robert Griffin III to get acclimated to the new offense, and he will have a better idea once he’s played against a real defense.
This season could be a key one in Robert Griffin III’s development. He had a dynamic rookie year followed by a drop-off in his sophomore effort, which was hampered by injury. But now he is coming off his first full NFL offseason, and looking to regain his explosive form.
“He’s going to have to get a rhythm,” Jon Gruden said, “a feel for this offense. When the primary receiver is not open you reset and get to the secondary receiver and if he’s not open you get to the outlet. If the protection isn’t very good and you have to scramble, it’s nice to have the speed he has. So [if you’re his coaches] what we’re trying to do is put the timing and the rhythm into everything we do and let him put his own expression on the offense. His spin on the quarterback position could be really exciting when it’s all settled.”
Redskins fans likely hope that Jon Gruden is right about Robert Griffin III.