Kyle Shanahan: ‘Tough’ for RGIII to find the right team

27 May


For all of the consternation over Colin Kaepernick‘s ongoing unemployment, another high-profile quarterback has been an afterthought this offseason.

Five years after arriving on the scene as one of the most dynamic rookies in NFL history, Robert Griffin III is facing a non-existent market for his services.

Although Griffin still boasts the requisite NFL athleticism and arm strength, he has yet to prove he can succeed outside of the diverse option offense designed by former Redskins coordinator Kyle Shanahan a half-decade ago.

Appearing on The Rich Eisen Show last week, the new 49ers head coach outlined the factors working against Griffin at this stage of an injury-prone career.

“When you look at all of these quarterbacks,” Shanahan explained, “there’s a lot of guys who have the ability to do it. But it’s how are you going to put a system together that gives them their best chance to be successful? And how are you going to put guys around them?”

Dual-threat quarterbacks struggling to master the finer points of pocket passing, Griffin and Kaepernick have run headlong into the league’s version of a Goldilocks conundrum: As borderline starters trending toward backup status, they are no longer deemed worthy of customizing the “just right” offensive systems and surrounding talent bestowed upon established franchise signal-callers.

“You’ve got to make sure you tailor an offense that fits his skill set,” Shanahan said of Griffin. “I look into all of that and I think one thing that’s tough when a guy’s not your for-sure starter, you need to put in a certain offense to give this guy a chance to be successful.

“That’s tough to do when a guy’s not your for-sure starter because it’s not just about him. It’s about the O-line, it’s about the running backs, it’s about the receivers and it’s certainly tough to design an offense around a quarterback when he’s competing to be your backup — if it’s different than the rest of the (personnel).”

Shanahan offered a similar explanation for Kaepernick in late March, explaining that San Francisco’s desired offense simply doesn’t match Kaepernick’s skill set.

“I think that stuff factors into these guys,” Shanahan told Eisen. “It’s what kind of system are they going into, and are they going to have to change the offense they’re doing right now to allow this guy a chance to make the team or give this guy a chance to play.”

Where might Griffin ultimately find work?

Operating an offense with read-option elements to suit Russell Wilson‘s playing style, the Seahawks have entertained the notion of signing Kaepernick or Griffin as veteran insurance. If Kaepernick is viewed as the more attractive option, though, it’s fair to wonder if Griffin will still be searching for his ideal fit by the time the season opens in September.

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