LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Albert Breer of the NFL Network joined Grant and Danny to discuss Robert Griffin III’s relationship with Jay Gruden.
Their relationship is still very much in the honeymoon phase, but the first-year head coach has been struck by Griffin’s ability to grasp what is commonly considered to be a complicated West Coast offense. According to Breer, Griffin has been tested to the point where coaches expected they would have to pull back a little bit to give the quarterback time to digest the system.
“You almost get the sense they haven’t hit that point with Griffin yet, which is pretty remarkable because they’ve had him in the program for two months now,” Breer said.
Perhaps Gruden’s background as a quarterback heightens the appreciation.
“You really get the sense that Gruden has been impressed with what he’s seen from Griffin from a mental standpoint,” Breer continued. “He said it stuck out to him even more so than the physical traits, which are pretty obvious.”
The coach’s paramount task will be helping Griffin rebound from a dismal sophomore slump compounded by friction with Mike Shanahan and a knee still feeling the ill-effects of a second reconstructive surgery.
Griffin’s rookie success isn’t unparalleled. Breer believes Johnny Manziel will find initial success as a pro, much like Griffin and Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
“Then what ends up happening is teams begin to build a book on what the team is doing,” Breer said. “It’s almost like it delays the development of the player… Some of the knocks that all quarterbacks take, instead of taking them in year one, they’re taking them in year two because they have to learn to counter-punch.”
With the cloak lifted on Shanahan’s plan for immediate success, Gruden will now begin grooming Griffin to become a more seasoned, intelligent, and versatile quarterback. It’s a process that, although he concedes will not be immediate, he’s optimistic will happen.
“He wants to be the greatest,” Gruden told Breer. “And he knows he has a long way to go, which is refreshing from a guy that’s had a Heisman Trophy and as much publicity as he’s had. He knows he has work to do, and he’s willing to put in the work. That’s strikes me as … I just wasn’t expecting that.”