Robert Griffin III

Redskins should have learned from Jay Cutler trade

The Washington Redskins gave up an awful lot for the right to draft Robert Griffin III. In fact, it was the first time a team parted with three 1st-round picks since the famous 1989 Herschel Walker trade (ask Vikings fans how that turned out).

But while the Walker trade may be the best comparison, a more relevant example may be the Chicago Bears trade for Jay Cutler prior to the 2009 NFL Draft.

The Bears have failed to give Cutler the support he needs.

The Bears sent their 2009 and 2010 1st-round picks, a 2009 3rd-round pick and Kyle Orton to the Broncos in exchange for what they believed was a franchise quarterback (Cutler).

And while Cutler did lead the Bears to the NFC Championship Game two seasons ago, the Bears haven’t exactly risen to the join the game’s elite.

So what went wrong?

The Bears thought adding a franchise quarterback would answer all their problems, but Cutler joined a franchise with an aging and struggling offensive line and an undersized and ineffective receiving corps. And without 1st-round picks in 2009 or 2010, the Bears had to wait until the 2011 draft before spending a meaningful draft pick on either position (Gabe Carimi).

The Redskins are now in a similar position. RG3 may be on board, but he’s just one man. And, unlike Cutler, Griffin is an unproven commodity who still needs a good deal of development.

I wholeheartedly believe that  you need a franchise quarterback to win in the NFL, and RG3 might be that guy. But you also don’t win with just a franchise quarterback.

Until the Redskins surround Griffin with talent, they aren’t going anywhere fast.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bears, Redskins 1 Comment

Why Browns don’t need to trade both 1st round picks to move up for Griffin

The general consensus is that the Cleveland Browns will ultimately win the bidding war for Robert Griffin III due to the fact that they own two 1st round picks, and therefore can offer more than the Redskins or Dolphins. However, the Browns should be able to win the Griffin sweepstakes without parting with the 22nd pick.

For starters, the Browns also own the 37th pick, two spots higher than the Redskins 2nd-round pick. If the Redskins offer their 1st and 2nd round selections, the Browns can out-bid them simply by matching the offer.

On top of that, the Rams may not be interested in dropping all the way to No. 6. By sliding to No. 4, the Redskins are still guaranteed to get either Matt Kalil or Justin Blackmon –  most likely the top two prospects on their draft board. Any GM would be thrilled to land one of their two favorite prospects at No. 4 and pick up an additional second-round pick in the process. So whatever the Redskins offer to sweeten the pot beyond the Browns 1st and 2nd round picks may not be worth it to St. Louis.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Browns, Rams, Redskins 1 Comment

Quarterback Search: Washington Redskins

Few teams have a more crucial and glaring hole to fill than the Washington Redskins need for a franchise quarterback. Unfortunately for the ‘Skins, their surprising early-season success left them with the 6th-overall selection, and potentially without any viable quarterback options in the 1st round.

However, owner Dan Snyder has never been shy about parting with draft picks, making them a legitimate candidate to trade up for Robert Griffin III. But before we assume the Redskins will attempt to move up (possibly to No. 2) to acquire Griffin, they first need to be sure he fits into Mike Shanahan’s offensive scheme.

As a former offensive coordinator, Shanahan likes to hand pick his quarterbacks, and has been reasonably successful in his efforts (at least prior to joining the Redskins).

While it’s tough to sum up all the quarterbacks Shanahan has used in 20+ years as a head coach/offensive coordinator, the one commonality between his primary signal callers has been their mobility. John Elway and Steve Young obviously stand out but Jake Plummer and, to a lesser extent, Steve Beuerlein, Jay Cutler and Brian Griese fit the mold as well.

Based solely on this trait, Griffin clearly fits the Shanahan profile. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the Redskins will jump at the chance to move up.

Shanahan has always marched to the beat of his own drum, and isn’t shy about waiting until the later rounds to fill crucial needs. Other prospects such as Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles and Brock Osweiler also possess many of the same traits as Griffin, and could interest Shanahan in the late 1st (should the Redskins chose to trade down) or in the 2nd or 3rd round.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Redskins Comments Off

Quarterback search: Cleveland Browns

I’ll start by saying this: Colt McCoy got a raw deal in Cleveland.

McCoy is perfect for the West Coast offense, and should have excelled with the Browns, but wasn’t surrounded with that talent he deserves. That said, after two disappointing and injury-plagued seasons, it’s time for the Browns to strongly consider moving on.

The issue with the Browns offense – in part due to McCoy’s very average arm strength, in part due to their pitiful receiving corps – was their inability to pick up large chucks of yardage. As a team, they completed just 19 passes of 25 yards or more, the league’s fourth-lowest total.

Another issue with the Browns offense was McCoy’s tendency to check down on nearly every play – again, in part due to his receivers’ inability to get open down the field. According to ProFootballFocus, McCoy’s competions traveled only an average of 5.83 yards through the air – the 6th-lowest average this season.

So where do the Browns go from here?

Assuming that trading up for Andrew Luck is not an option, they could settle for the next best thing: Robert Griffin III. But is he a good fit for their offense?

The Browns will continue to run a West Coast offense under new coordinator Brad Childress in 2012, which means we shouldn’t expect them to suddenly start tossing the ball all over the field. For this reason, one could argue that Griffin isn’t a great fit.

At Baylor, Griffin played in Art Briles wide open spread attack, primarily taking snaps from the shotgun. With weapons like Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams, a strong offense line, and the aid of standing in the shotgun, Griffin had plenty of time to stand in the pocket and wait for a receiver to break free. He won’t have that luxury in the NFL – especially not in the West Coast system.

But that doesn’t mean Griffin can’t excel in Cleveland.

The Browns are desperate for a playmaker and Griffin’s big arm and elite athleticism will add a new dimension to their offense. He may not have the ideal skill set for the West Coast system, but a good coaching staff will always find ways to adjust to the players around them. Brad Childress worked with Donovan McNabb for the first seven years of McNabb’s career, and while McNabb never had Griffin’s athleticism, his mobility was a big part of the Eagles offense early in his career.

Griffin can change the Browns offense and, in time, could develop into more of a prototypical West Coast quarterback.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Browns Comments Off

So where will RGIII land?

While it comes as no surprise, Robert Griffin III has reportedly informed Baylor that he will be entering the draft.

And so begins silly season, which will feature a never ending supply of RGII rumors involving the Rams, Browns, Redskins, Seahawks, Dolphins and possibly a few others.

So let’s break down a few of the rumors before they even start…

Griffin is a top-six lock, but where will he land?

Scenario 1: Rams trade No. 2 pick to [insert QB desperate team here] - The Rams have to be ecstatic today with the news that Griffin is turning pro, which means the value of their No. 2 pick skyrockets. Ideally, the Rams create a bidding war between the Browns and another team (most likely the Redskins) and are able to pry both of Cleveland’s 1st-round picks from GM Tom Heckert. But while the Browns have the edge over anyone interested in trading up, never underestimate Daniel Snyder’s complete disregard for the value of draft picks. If Snyder gets desperate, he just may put together a package the Rams can’t refuse.

Scenario 2: Browns select Griffin at No. 4 – While this is the least dramatic scenario, it’s probably the most likely one. The Redskins have the ability to trade up, but the Rams also have incentive to stay put. The Vikings have similar needs to the Rams and if the St. Louis gets its heart set on Justin Blackmon or Matt Kalil, there’s no guarantee the Vikings won’t swoop in a take him at No. 3. That would allow Griffin to fall to No. 4, where the Browns would probably take him.

Scenario 3: Bucs trade No. 5 pick t0 [insert QB desperate team here] - If the Browns don’t want Griffin, the Redskins would lose their incentive to trade up to No. 2. And, while the Seahawks and Dolphins would be crazy to not have an interest in Griffin, the asking price will likely be too steep for them to trade up that high. However, if Cleveland passes on him at No. 4, the Bucs could initiate a bidding war between those teams interested in jumping ahead of Washington.

Scenario 4: The Redskins select Griffin at No. 6 – If all else fails, the Redskins will end Griffin’s mini fall at No. 6.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Browns, Rams, Redskins Comments Off

Robert Griffin scouting notes

I’m intrigued by Robert Griffin and I’m starting to think he could sneak into the 1st round should he enter the draft this year.

Griffin is an elite athlete who compares favorably to Michael Vick in terms of his ability to run with the football. But to evaluate him, you have to take those plays out of the mix. His ability to run is nice, but without the ability to stand in the pocket and throw he can’t be considered an elite prospect.

At first glance all you notice about Griffin is the athleticism, but a closer look turns up some more traditional skills.

I went back and looked at his game against TCU – arguably the best defense he’s faced this season – to see how he performed in NFL-style plays. Basically what I was looking for was how he handled pressure and how he looked when standing in the pocket.  Read more

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off