<p>One of the many concerns for a quarterback when he makes the leap to the NFL is how quickly he learns to read complex, pro-style defenses.<p><p>One play in Thursdays 7-6 victory over the Bills suggests rookie Robert Griffin III is a quick study.<p><p>Griffin brought the Redskins to the line of scrimmage having called his own number a quarterback keeper. But as he scanned the defense across from him, he noticed Buffalo had loaded up on the weak side of the formation.<p><p>So Griffin called an audible.<p><p>I just audibled to a run play, Griffin said. Its something you have to get used to. I didnt really audible that much in college. It was good to get out there and do that.<p><p>Griffin said the confidence to make that split-second judgment call at the line of scrimmage came from his growing experience and the trust the coaches have shown in him.<p><p>Its not that you walk to the line and see a defense and think, Ive got the perfect play for that defense, Griffin said. But now that were starting to game plan, the coaching staff can kind of break it down and say, If you get this specific look, you can audible this play.<p><p>Some other highlights from Griffins weekly media availability Monday:&nbsp;<p><p>--On his comfort dropping back after taking a snap under center, Griffin said: Of course I feel more comfortable in shotgun because thats what Im used to from Baylor. The drop back from underneath the center is definitely something Im getting better at. I felt comfortable in the game.<p><p>--Asked about targeting Pierre Garon so often Thursday, Griffin said: We are looking to grow as quarterback and receiver. But its not like we were calling plays designated plays for Pierre. We were just calling our base plays, going through the reads and it just so happened that his number popped up.<p><p>Three of Griffins four completions in Buffalo were to Garon, including a 20-yard touchdown.<p><p>--After watching the film of Thursdays game, Griffin said he did not second-guess himself. Im my own worst critic, he said. In the 14 plays that we got, there wasnt anything that stuck out as, Hey, I could have done this differently or couldve done that differently. Hopefully it will be the same way in Chicago.<p><p>--Asked when was the last time he got tackled, Griffin said: I have been hit in practice a few times and gone down. But I havent been hit since that Bowl game back at Baylor in the Alamo Bowl last December. I havent been hit since then. Hopefully we can keep that trend going.<p><p>Griffin was not taken down by the Bills and is not tackled in practice.<p><p>&nbsp;<p>
RICHMOND—The Redskins offense is dealing with some challenges on the field. Their top two wide receivers from last year left as free agents and replacements Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have little game experience with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Tight end Jordan Reed (toe) was a surprise entry on the PUP list. Running back Rob Kelley needs to prepare to get ready to carry the load for 16 games.
There is one other change the team must deal with. Sean McVay, the team’s offensive coordinator, left in January to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. He had been calling the plays for the past two years. That duty will now fall on head coach Jay Gruden.
Play calling is not new to Gruden. He did it from 2011-2013 for the Bengals when he was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Gruden also made the play calls in 2014, his first season as the Redskins head coach.
Still, he wants to make sure that he’s ready to retake the play caller’s headset. The method he will use is to throw away the script.
“I think early on we’re going to have scripted practices, and once we get going, get our main core of plays in there, I think we’ll have a lot of unscripted practices where I can call plays,” he said. “So I think that’s the most important thing, the unscripted practice. Whether it’s two -minute, whether it’s drives down the field, whether it’s third downs, all that good stuff, do a lot of unscripted work, red zone and go from there, but I feel pretty comfortable already.”
That certainly makes sense. Games are not scripted and the successful play callers who can adjust to the ebb and flow of the game. You can’t duplicate the dynamic but you can come close in 11 on 11 work on the practice field.
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Another key to making this work will be trusting his defensive and special teams coaches. If Gruden can’t delegate to them he will be getting pulled in too many directions on game days.
“How well I handle that will be how successful I will probably be as a coordinator calling plays and as a coach,” he said. “I feel good about the staff that I have around me. Coach [Greg] Manusky and Jim Tomsula and Torrian Gray on the defensive side of the ball, I don’t think I have to worry so much about that, Ben Kotwica, Bret Munsey on the special teams. The big thing is I have got to be involved in the football game, make sure I’m ready for the red flag tosses and all that good stuff, but for the most part I have confidence in the defense and special team coaches and players.”
We will see how well it works out. As a rookie coach he occasionally seemed to be overwhelmed by all that he had piled on his plate (the situation was complicated by his curious decision not to hire a quarterbacks coach). But now, with three years under his belt and an exponentially better understanding of what is involved in coaching an NFL game, there should be more confidence that he can handle it.
RICHMOND - Everything seemed cool at the Bon Secours training facility when Jay Gruden left the podium on Wednesday, but that quickly changed when the Redskins released their Physically Unable to Perform list a few hours later. Jordan Reed landing on the PUP list was an unexpected bomber, a big deal even if the star tight end returns to the field quickly.
On Thursday, the Redskins will take to the field for their first day of training camp. There will be plenty of questions:
- When and why? Reed on the PUP list for the first day of camp does not mean Redskins fans should panic, but it also doesn't mean there isn't reason for alarm. Reed has a distinct injury history and it seems the team is being smart trying to handle an injury rather than let it linger. The Washington offense is at its best with Reed on the field. Jay Gruden will be asked about Reed a lot in his Thursday press conference; perhaps their will be some clarity.
- D-Line questions - Rookie Jonathan Allen should immediately help the 'Skins up front defensively, but beyond that, there are no sure things in the trenches. The Redskins added Stacy McGee from the Raiders and Terrell McClain from the Cowboys in free agency, and both are expected to have a significant role right away. Those guys have had productive flashes in their past, but injuries have been an issue. The Redskins need them to be good, and healthy, right away.
- Time to shine - Josh Doctson hardly had a rookie season as he dealt with Achilles injuries. He played just two games in 2016. With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon gone, the Redskins need last year's first-round draft pick to produce in 2017. A strong training camp, develping chemistry with Kirk Cousins, could help calm fears about the revamped 'Skins offense.
Stay with CSN all day for updates from the Redskins first training camp practice of the 2017 season. Football is finally here.
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