Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Tuesday that he will keep Robert Griffin III in the lineup to continue his development as a drop-back passer.
“Like I said, [in order to promote] the growth of a quarterback [and] the maturation process, you need those repetitions,” Shanahan said, via the team’s website. “That’s why he’s going through these repetitions – to get better. He hasn’t had a lot of these repetitions in college, which we’ve talked about. One of the reasons why we had the success that we had, probably the type of success where he separated himself from every other rookie in the history of the game, is he was able to do some things that other quarterbacks couldn’t do. We had a dual threat.
“Now, that threat is not quite there as strong as it was a year ago, but now we go to a different direction – we run play-action, we still run some of the zone-reads. That will come – that maturity will come, but it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a growing period, and if you take a look at so many of these quarterbacks, you go back and think of all the Hall of Fame quarterbacks, they’ve had much tougher years than what we’re going through so far. It doesn’t happen overnight, but he’s got all the ability in the world to make that big jump and you just have to be patient.”
Griffin completed 17 of 27 passes for 127 yards and an interception for a 58.7 passer rating against the San Francisco 49ers. For the season, Griffin has 14 touchdown passes, 11 interceptions and a 81.9 rating.
In 15 games last season, Griffin threw 20 touchdowns, five interceptions and had a 102.4 rating.
Shanahan doesn’t think Griffin has regressed.
“No, I don’t believe so,” he said. “I think I shared with everybody that we tried to do things a year ago that gave him the best chance to be successful and things that he could do very effectively that I thought he was very good at. The drop-back passing game takes some time. It doesn’t happen overnight.
“Robert is getting better and better every game. He feels more comfortable with it and we’re putting him through a lot of situations. It’s a constant growth in the drop-back game because it’s not only reading coverages, it’s looking at personnel, it’s stepping up into the pocket, getting rid of the football going against blitzes, different coverages, all the things that go with the maturation of being a quarterback. That’s something he’s going through right now.”
Shanahan will not be playing any of the young players just to see what he has.
“No. 1, you play the best players,” said Shanahan. “I see in practice guys that are going against their defense every day. They’re on the scout team, and that’s how you make the jump. That’s how we take guys and we build them from the practice squad to being an active player. If we think that guy gives us the best chance to win, he’s going to play.
“We’re not going to experiment with guys and think, ‘Hey, this season’s over. We’re going to play young players.’ That means you’ve given up. We’re going to play the best players every day. We tell our scout team that if you want to make the team, you better look pretty good against our first team defense, and what [would be] a better way to do it than against your starters.”