“Just a phenomenal job of adapting to your quarterback,” said Gruden, who was once Kyle Shanahan’s boss on Tampa Bay’s coaching staff.
“So I think you’re going to see elements of what Robert Griffin did at Baylor — I’m saying elements. You’re going to see an occasional read option. You’re going to see an occasional designed quarterback run because this kid is special with the ball in his hands, as well as throwing it.”
But even if the playbook is perfectly adapted to Griffin’s comforts, asking a rookie quarterback to carry a team tests the boundaries of reasonable ambition. That’s why Mike and Kyle Shanahan have preached the importance of Griffin’s supporting cast.
The organization has established some continuity among its offensive personnel, in addition to adding receivers Pierre Garcon and Joshua Morgan in the offseason.
“People have been in this system now — this is the third year — and everybody is getting better,” said Grossman, who followed Kyle to Washington from Houston in 2010. “Offensive linemen have been here a while, some receivers. We’re pretty deep because we understand exactly what Kyle wants.
“With the addition of Robert and some of the other plays we might do, that we didn’t do in Houston, it’s going to be a good year. It’s going to be entertaining.”
Kyle Shanahan, through the lens of Washington’s play-caller, emphasizes the importance of disseminating responsibility and not relying too heavily on a rookie quarterback.
“You have to be able to take the pressure off him,” he said. “How do you do that? Usually it’s by running the ball. It’s doing different things in the pass game. It’s just not asking him to do everything. Someone else has to make a play here or there and make it relaxed for him.”
Griffin says he has enjoyed his first four months working with Kyle Shanahan and how their relationship has evolved. He appreciates how young the staff is — Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur are 32 — and what he’s learned from them.
“It’s definitely fun,” Griffin said. “We’ve got a good atmosphere out here every time that we come out and in the film room. I think it’s a total package — it’s definitely a technique type of thing, it’s X’s and O’s. These guys know what they’re talking about. I’m trusting those guys and doing what they’re asking me to do.”
And that should make Griffin feel right at home, like a rap song on a Texas morning.