Quick Thoughts From Mike Shanahan's Press Conference After OTA's:
May 24, 2013 in Washington Redskins
On if Griffin III could play in the season opener without playing in the preseason:
“It’s hard to say. Probably not…. Do you mean in a preseason game or in practice? You’d have to practice against yourself, not necessarily against an opponent. One of the reasons for that, he’d have to work with the first-team offense and he’d have to have some practice time.”
-My Take: This is basically my thought as well. The actual preseason games aren't that important, in fact the most I'd look for from him in that department would be maybe playing a quarter in the 3rd preseason game. But if he's not a full go in practice and able to run with the first team without any limitations, then he probably isn't healthy enough to play. Also, if Griffin isn't able to practice with the 1st team, then he will probably be slightly off which is problematic in a timing based offense.
On if he would have separate “Robert Rules” rules for participating in training camp if Griffin III is ready to play:
“You can’t have ‘Robert Rules.’ What you have to do if a guy is able to practice, he’s able to practice, because whatever you’re doing, you’re going to put your legs in certain situations that causes stress. We don’t want to put him in situation that he’s not ready for. So it’s an ongoing process. The doctors will evaluate him. They’ve looked at guys with ACLs for a long time. They’re the experts in that area. They’ll let me know if they think he’s ready to go.”
-My Take: Really glad to hear this for a couple of reasons. One it should ensure that Griffin needs to meet the same parameters as anyone else to practice. Two, it helps ensure that Griffin is truly 100% before he's back to starting which is key.
On if he would preemptively change parts of a successful offense – like the zone read – to keep Griffin III healthy:
“Remember, the zone read probably gave Robert more time in the pocket than anything else you can do in the National Football League. Where Robert did get hurt was dropping back and doing a couple of scrambles. That’s probably one of the toughest situations for a quarterback is to dropback, look downfield, know when to scramble, know when to slide. It’s just tough. I think every year you get better and better. But we’re going to try to protect Robert as much as we can. We’re going to let him do the things that we think he does the best and hopefully it will be as productive.”
-My Take: I think some of what Mike Shanahan said is 100% valid. I think the zone-read was instrumental in Griffin's success last year, because it fit his style of play so perfectly and it confuses defenses so much that Robert Griffin III was able to exploit holes in the defense. That confusion and the quickness in which those plays developed helps mask some of the deficiencies in the Redskins offensive line. Griffin's numbers under center were not as productive when he was in the Pistol or Shotgun formation, so it definitely did benefit him. Shanahan is also right that Griffin got injured when he had to scramble versus running read option plays, but that doesn't really mean that when Griffin ran the ball in the read option the possibility to get injured wasn't there. On these two read option/designed run plays from the Tampa Bay game, Griffin got hit pretty hard and could have easily gotten hurt. Any time you are taking additional hits you increase your opportunities to get hurt.
One thing that I felt like Shanahan alluded to that I really liked was the recongnition that they can't have RGIII scrambling away from pressure multiple times a game. That significantly increased his carries and chances of getting hit. Shanahan says that they are going to try to protect Griffin as much as they can, but it's unclear if he meant that schematically, or with improvements to the line (I guess Tony Pashos over Tyler Polumbus would count).
On Wilson’s injury:
“He had a pec [pectoral]. He had a couple of things. But I think he’ll be fine [and] ready to go for camp.”
On how Wilson injured his pectoral:
“It was a labrum tear and he had a little bit with the pec too, but anytime you have a labrum tear like he had, he played through the season. It was sore and he played through it. Then when he went in there and he went in for surgery, it was worse than they thought it was. So they repaired it and he’s feeling pretty good.”
-My Take: This definitely help explains why the Redskins brought back Hall, signed E.J. Biggers and drafted David Amerson with their top pick. It also explains why Wilson's production was down last year. Definitely not a great sign overall given that Wilson has been the Redskins most consistent corner the last two years, and there are question marks surrounding all the other guys in camp. Hopefully Wilson is back healthy this preseason and ready to go at full strength this year, but it will be an injury to continue monitoring.
On what Griffin III is missing developmentally by not being able to participate:
“Any time you’re missing reps, obviously it doesn’t help you, but what he’s able to do is get all the mental reps and that’s what he’s got to do. Get mental reps – that’s your only choice. Does it hurt? Sure, it hurts. If I told you a guy misses all these snaps and said it didn’t hurt, then we wouldn’t have all these OTAs. But he’s a student of the game. He’s done a good job of coming in and looking at all our games and all our cutups and we get a valuable work process through it all.”
On if the mental leap is bigger than the physical leap for quarterbacks in their second year:
“Let me say this, Robert will come back here a few years from now and he’ll laugh, saying, ‘Oh my God, I thought I really did know a lot about the game.’ That’s as much of a jump as you make every year, especially coming from almost any type of offense. But with Robert running the type of offense he did at Baylor, it’s a little bit different from a dropback passing game in the National Football League. But he’s got the ability to make every throw, and the more he plays, the more comfortable he’ll be. And what he was able to accomplish last year, when you think about it, for every time a ball was snapped, he had the most production out of anybody in the National Football League. That doesn’t happen very often as a rookie.”
My Take: I think this is a good honest answer and a reason why between the injuries and missed time we should temper some expectations as a fan base for Griffin this season. This is not to say that his production will fall off or even that he'll have a true "sophomore slump", but rather that he might be on par with what he was at last season, and maybe a bit worse if he can't add the rushing ability from a year ago.
On if tight end Fred Davis is doing more than what he expected:
“You know, Fred to me looks very good. The trainer thinks he’s about 90 percent. The one thing with Achilles is you don’t want guys pushing off too quickly when they’re blocking, so we’re kind of holding him back a little bit. I don’t really want him to go until we get to training camp, give him that extra time to heal up. But right now I think there should be no setback and should go full speed ahead.”
On safety Brandon Meriweather:
“I think Brandon will be fine once we get to camp. Same thing. Today, I don’t know if you watched his drills, but he did a good job in his drill work. The one thing you don’t want to do when somebody hurts his knee is get him going too quickly. Just let it heal and strengthen the muscles around the knee. Right now he looks pretty good.”
My Takes: I think these are both cautionary tales right here, despite that it was impressive seeing Fred Davis out there with an Achilles injury. While perhaps Griffin will have the miraculous recovery that everyone is hyping the Redskins have a number of serious injuries, and it is likely that multiple ones will suffer setbacks and loss of ability this season. Davis seems to be on pace, but I'd still expect him to be a bit more limited early on, especially as Shanahan mentioned in the blocking aspect of his game. Meriweather is perhaps a bigger concern (in part because he suffered the injury about a month later).
On anyone he doesn’t expect to be ready for training camp:
“I would think that everybody but one will be ready. That’s my guess, but I’m not telling you who the one is, so you guys have got to keep on guessing…”
My Take: My current guess is Adam Carriker, but there are definitely some addition concerns as well. The Redskins have a lot of injured starters or key contributors who are coming back from major injuries last season or fairly significant offseason surgeries.
On the competition at right tackle:
“Well, what I always like to say, once you come to training camp, we’ve got 90 guys and every position is open. Now we know guys that have played extremely well and the chances of those guys getting beat out probably aren’t very good. But the mindset is we’ve got a lot of competition, a lot of people that we believe can play in the National Football League. So we’re going to evaluate everybody, how everybody plays and how everybody practices every day and that’s one of the speeches I gave our guys today. If you’re in this room, you’ve got a chance to make this football team because there’s something you have that’s very special or unique. We’ll evaluate every day. Just because you had a Pro Bowl year the year before doesn’t mean it’s automatic you’re going to be on our football team unless you show us in practice and the game how you’re going to play. And if you have that type of competition, you’ve got a chance to get better.”