The Redskins have their franchise quarterback signed, sealed, and delivered. Robert Griffin III is under their control for the next five years (the four-year deal plus a team option in the fifth year).So now what?Well, once they get RG3 enrolled in the 401k and health care plans, get his direct deposit information (unless hes going to drop off his 14 million signing bonus check at the drive-through at the bank like Chris Cooley did with his bonus check), and show him where he can park his Chrysler Pacifica, they need to get to work on finding out how to make himand the Redskins offensesuccessful.But how will the go about doing that? Doug Farrar on Yahoo.com says that the Redskins would do well to follow the lead of Rob Chudzinski. He is the Panthers offensive coordinator, the man most responsible for Cam Newton enjoying one of the best seasons a rookie NFL quarterback has ever had. What did Chudzinski do?Not only did Chudzinski set things up in ways that would allow Newton to make more traditional NFL plays from the pocket, but his willingness to weld the playbook Newton had at Auburn in 2010 showed impressive flexibility and open-mindedness that paid big dividends every Sunday in 2011."If you go back and look at the things we did offensively and the different types of passplays off of play-action, drop-back passes, it was then incorporating some of the spread offense that he was used to seeing," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said at the 2012 scouting combine. "Our coaches went back and studied some of the Auburn things and looked at that and adapted that to our playbook."Mike and Kyle Shanahan may not go back and pull plays out of Baylors playbook, although we shouldnt completely discount the possibility. But there already are some things in the Redskins offense that Griffin should be able to run effectively.I think we can do some things that he feels very comfortable with, with our play action game, our boots, quarterback keeps that fit him perfectly and different things weve done through the years that would be very easy, that he could right now and not even think twice, Mike Shanahan said in May.The first part of the process of taking him through the paces wearing shorts and a helmet going up against teammates in shorts and helmets already took place in OTAs and minicamp. The next phase will start the third day of training camp when he and the rest of his teammates put on pads (no pads or contact are allowed in the first two days of training camp per the CBA). Griffin wont be taking any hits but the intensity does pick up when the hitting starts.After that, about three weeks from today, the RG3 edition of the playbook will put to the test against players in different-colored uniforms. The Buffalo Bills will be going all out to try to stop Griffin and will be planting their facemasks in his rib cage if the opportunity arises. If he runs, it wont be two-hand touch to get him down.There will be review of the film and some plays will be taken off of the active play list and others will be added on. The process will continue the next week in Chicago and then against the Colts and Bucs at FedEx Field. The intensity ticks up several more notches when the regular season starts in New Orleans on Sept. 9. Plays are in RG3s comfort zone may not be when hes not facing a defense resting several starters at the beginning of the game and has substituted out the rest of the first team after the first few series.And it wont end there. The process of adjusting and readjusting will continue through the season. RG3 and the Shanahans may find a sweet spot for a few weeks but then the defenses will adjust and plays that were working earlier in the year will have to be scrapped or modified.The plan is to get the offense moving well enough to improve on last years dismal scoring average of 18 points per game (26th in the NFL) and to get Griffins career off on the right foot. How successful they are in achieving the latter could go a long way towards determining the quarterbacks career track.Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email here and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.
Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 19, 18 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.
—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 10
—NFL Combine (3/2) 11
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 57
—NFL Draft (4/27) 67
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 203
Sunday morning quick hitters
How many spots up for grabs? A quick mid-February look down the final 2016 53-man roster shows about 20 players who may not be on the roster for Week 1 this year. This includes players who may depart as free agents and others who just won’t make the team. They probably won’t turn over that many spots but it does show that a lot of jobs are up for grabs.
RELATED: #RedskinsTalk Podcast - It's tag day
How many draft picks? The Redskins have nine draft picks, their own in rounds 1-6 and extra picks in rounds 4, 5, and 6. It’s easy to say that Scot McCloughan may turn that into as many as a dozen picks, especially with all the roster spots that may be open. But remember that last year the Redskins wound up with just seven picks with no pick in the fourth and two in the seventh. McCloughan may intend to stockpile more picks but it depends on how the draft unfolds.
1st-round RB a bad idea: Yesterday JP and I posted on the topic of Rob Kelley as the Redskins’ prime running back this season and it drew quite a bit of discussion on Twitter and on Facebook. I think that they should try to get an upgrade over Kelley but I don’t think they should use their first-round pick to do it. There are just too many other, higher priority needs.
More Redskins: NFL Mock Draft 3.0
A turnaround for Matt Jones? Last year Trent Murphy broke out after two mediocre seasons to register eight sacks. Can Jones do the something similar in this, his third season? The rough equivalent of Murphy’s performance would be Jones rushing for 800 yards. It’s as much a matter of him holding on to the ball as anything. Jones was on pace to rush for over 1,100 yards before losing his grip on the starting job, literally and figuratively.
Tandler on Twitter
In case you missed it
- Would a Cousins contract be a cap killer for the Redskins?
- Will Kelley remain the Redskins' lead running back?
- The Redskins week that was—How many DL, players to step up
- 2017 NFL Mock Draft 3.0
The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.
That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.
RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: It's tag day
Will Rob Kelly be the lead running back?
Tandler: Right off the bat here, let me say I like a lot about how Kelley plays. My contribution to this post may come off as “anti” Kelley but it’s just to provide balance to the gushing praise of Kelley that will ensue in JP’s part below.
Kelley started the last nine games of the season, getting the job after Matt Jones took his opportunity and imploded. The undrafted free agent played well. If you project the numbers from his nine starts out over 16 games you get 268 carries for 1,068 yards with 11 touchdowns.
That’s fine, but is it a strong enough performance to hand him the job, similar to the way that Jones was handed the job in 2016? Gaining a thousand yards is a good season but 12 backs got there this year. Kelley’s 3.98 yards per carry average as a starter would have been 26th in the NFL among backs with enough carries to qualify.
Again, a good season but not good enough that a team that has deep playoff aspirations should give him the job with no competition. There should be a vigorous battle for the job this year. Jones will still be around and maybe he will pull a Trent Murphy and suddenly become productive in Year 3. We haven’t seen a whole lot of Mack Brown but I’ve seen enough to want to see more. With nine draft picks, it would not be surprising to see Scot McCloughan grab a running back somewhere along the line. I’m not sure if Keith Marshall, last year’s seventh-round pick, can stay healthy but if he can they should line him up and see what he can do.
May the best back win. If that’s Kelley, good for him.
Finlay: Tandler going full hater mode early. I like it. As listeners of #RedskinsTalk the Podcast know, Rich and I have disagreed on Fat Rob for months. Before a knee injury slowed him down late in the year, Kelley was averaging well over 4 YPC and showed good movement behind the line of scrimmage as well as in the hole and beyond. He flashed plenty to be the lead runner in 2017.
But enough from me. Here's what Jay Gruden said of Kelley after the season ended:
"He’s one of the guys that I’m sure will probably have a scope when he’s done at the end of the season. I think great, great year for him as far as a rookie coming in as a free agent, being thrown into the fire like he was and performing like he did. I think there’s a lot of improvement that’ll be made with Robert. He’s going to get stronger, even get in more better shape. He’s going to understand the 16-game season, what it entails, how demanding it is on his body. He’s going to get himself ready to go. But he’s shown great vision, great toughness in the hole, great ball security. I think that’s a good starting point."
Competition is good, let the backs fight it out in Richmond, but I think Kelley wins the job again assuming the same group of RBs comes back. After gainging 700 yards in just nine starts in 2016, a 1,000 yard season is certainly in play for 2017.
More offseason questions:
Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!