The Washington Times - March 20, 2013, 05:37PM

PHOENIX | Whenever Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III returns from his right knee injury, coach Mike Shanahan expects him to protect himself better than he did as a rookie last season.

“The one thing he is going to have to learn to do is how to slide, how to throw the football away, how to protect himself,” Shanahan said Wednesday at the NFL annual meetings. “You do have to know when to slide. Sometimes it’s normal slide, sometimes it’s a headfirst slide, but you can’t take shots consistently in the National Football League.”

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Griffin was injured twice while scrambling last season. He suffered a concussion on Oct. DATE against Atlanta when linebacker Sean Weatherspoon hit him as he lost his footing while trying to get down. Griffin sprained the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee on Dec. 9 when Baltimore defensive lineman Haloti Ngata tackled him as he tried to dive.

Shanahan believes there is a misconception about how read option running plays affect Griffin’s health. He also expects Griffin’s year of experience to provide Griffin a better feel for what he can accomplish as a runner.

“When you’re in college and you’re running the football, especially a guy like him, he’s got so much more ability than all of these guys, and a lot of times he didn’t have to slide in certain situations because he was confident in himself to make the big play,” Shanahan said. “As he will learn, and I think he has learned, you’re going to have to slide. When you take a look at film, in these situations you’ve got to slide head first or slide a normal slide, you’ve got to throw the football away. Because when Robert did get hurt this year, it was off of dropback passes.”