Mike Shanahan believes RG3 can find success with Cleveland Browns
By Thomas Moore
Former Washington head coach Mike Shanahan believes Robert Griffin III can be successful with the Cleveland Browns – but only if he wants to be.
The Cleveland Browns are once again traveling down Reclamation Road in an attempt to solve their ongoing situation at the quarterback position.
Joining the lineage of Jeff Garcia, Trent Dilfer, and Jake Delhomme is Robert Griffin III who, if all goes right, will be a placeholder for the franchise quarterback that the Browns have been searching for since November of 1993. (And Browns fans know all too well how often things go right for this franchise.)
No matter which side of the aisle you occupy in regards to Griffin’s future prospects with the Browns, it is beyond debate that something went wrong with Griffin in Washington in his fall from offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012 to third-string afterthought in 2015.
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One person who had a front row seat to Griffin’s fall from grace, and without a doubt had a hand in it, is former Washington head coach Mike Shanahan, who ran the team during Griffin’s first two years in the league. And despite what went on the past two seasons with the Redskins, Shanahan still believes that Griffin can turn his career around – mainly because of head coach Hue Jackson.
“Robert did some great things in his rookie year, and I think Hue will take advantage of some of the things he did do well.” – Mike Shanahan
“I was thinking that in Robert’s best interest, he needed to go to a place where the head coach had the background of running different style offenses,” Shanahan told Monday Morning Quarterback. “I think Robert, if he gets with the right system, and accentuates his positives, he can do some of the things he did in 2012, even though he really hasn’t taken a lot of snaps in the last two and a half years.
“If you take a look at [Jackson’s] background, he has run a lot of different schemes as a coordinator and an assistant coach, depending on who his quarterback was. Wherever Robert went, he had to go to a guy who would run a system that gave Robert the best chance to be successful. I think Robert now, after a couple years, he looks back at 2012 and probably can see a little bit differently than he did in his second year. I think for him to have success in the NFL, he’s going to have to combine what he did in 2012 and some of the new things he will be coached to do.”
While “putting a player in the best situation to succeed” is basic coach speak, Shanahan stressed that it is still up to Griffin to determine if he wants to have a future in the NFL or not.
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“I can’t speak for Robert over the last few years, I just know that if I’m a quarterback and I go through 2014, and I go through 2015, and I really don’t get a chance to play, whatever the coach wants me to run, I’m going to run it to the best of my ability,” Shanahan said. “If it is more read-option, he has to learn how to protect himself and throw the football away. If it’s not, he has to go and try to become the best quarterback he can be. We’ll see where that takes him.
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“Robert is going to have to be all-in, and he should be right now, given the fact that his options are limited. Hue will make that decision, and Robert has to buy in. If he doesn’t buy in, then Robert will be out of the league.”
That’s the big takeaway from Shanahan’s comments. As much as people are putting their faith in Jackson to be some kind of quarterback miracle worker, there is only so much (and only so much time) he and the coaches can devote to one player. It’s going to fall on Griffin to understand and accept that this could represent his best and last chance to get his career back on track.
If he can do that, Griffin has a real chance to separate himself from the likes of Garcia, Dilfer and Delhomme. And if he can’t? Well, there is always the NFL Draft at the end of this month.
Browns fans everywhere know how well that’s turned out over the years when it comes to quarterbacks.