WASHINGTON — Former 49ers head coach Mike Singletary offered some enlightening thoughts on quarterback Robert Griffin III, preparing for his fourth season with the Redskins.
The first thought, Griffin staying healthy, you’ve likely heard before, but is worth reinforcing, especially in a town where sports fans have witnessed how great a role health has played in allowing Bryce Harper to begin tapping into his full potential.
Griffin has yet to play a full season in his three years in the NFL, and has actually played in a steadily declining number of games for as long as he’s been in the league.
“I think the biggest thing for Robert is just staying healthy,” Singletary said on 106.7 The Fan’s ‘Chad Dukes vs. The World.’ “I think if he can just stay healthy, and just kind of continue to be Robert, he’s got enough talent, he’s got the right mindset; it’s just staying healthy. Once you’re not healthy, all types of speculation comes up and you get rusty, and out-of-sight, out-of-mind. I just think that, for him, if he can stay healthy, I think great things are ahead for him.”
For Singletary, Griffin needs to shed the mindset of feeling overwhelmed in the pocket before he can take a much-needed step forward.
“I just think that for a guy like Robert Griffin, you play in college and maybe the talent that you’re playing against, you’re so talented, you’re so head and shoulders above everybody else,” he said. “And then all of a sudden, the game just really intensifies and gets a lot faster than you’ve ever seen it.
Griffin is no rookie, though. Rather, the further removed he becomes from his Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign, the more he seems at risk of never returning to that peak form.
“Some of the plays that you used to be able to make, some of the runs that you used to be able to make — the pocket gets a little smaller,” Singletary said. “And it sort of, I’m sure, originally, makes you change your game a bit. And when that happens, it kind of throws off your identity.
“I know he’s tough mentally,” he added. “I know he’s a smart kid and I’m just excited to see what the possibilities are for him.”
Coincidentally, Singletary noted the importance of having a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator willing to guide a young QB to make the adjustments necessary to succeed. The Redskins, this offseason, hired experienced QBs coach Matt Cavanaugh, who has already demonstrated he can take that gentle care with Griffin.
“It really depends on the quarterback coach, and of course the coordinator, really understanding and being able to help the kid, and deciding whether that kid is smart enough to really understand what he needs or if you need to guide him,” Singletary said. “So there are a lot of things there, and the personality of the quarterback — there are a lot of intangibles that are in play — so it takes a little time before you get a handle on it, but once you do, you got something.”
Perhaps after Griffin’s confounding regression