Mike Shanahan Believes the Redskins Have a Sufficient Supporting Cast Around RG3: “We are night and day different from two years ago.”

May 17, 2012 – 5:45 am by Steven Cuce

Thursday, April 26, 2012 will now be the day that forever marks Mike Shanahan’s legacy with the Washington Redskins. On that night Washington selected former Baylor quarterback, Robert Griffin III, with the second overall selection, a pick that the Redskins traded three draft picks (two first round choices and second round choice) to the Rams for.

While it was a little bit baffling that Washington took former Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins in the 4th round, Shanahan has reassured everyone by naming RGIII his starting quarterback. Shanahan believes RGIII has all the tools necessary to become a successful starting quarterback in the NFL.

Mike Shanahan joined ESPN 980 in D.C. with The Sports Fix to discuss naming Robert Griffin III the Washington Redskins starting quarterback, his legacy in D.C. now being tied to Robert Griffin III, realistic expectations for Robert Griffin III in his first season as starting quarterback and the offensive possibilities with RGIII if the Redskins give him a sufficient supporting cast.

Your decision to name Robert Griffin III the starting quarterback already. Did you sense there was a quarterback controversy already?

“Not at all. Anytime you give up two number one picks and a number two [pick] to move up to the position to get a quarterback either Robert Griffin III or Andrew [Luck] in that situation. That means you have studied both guys throughly and you believe that’s the franchise guy. When we moved up we felt good about both guys and I felt extremely good about Robert Griffin III knowing with the type of offense we run and he had everything we look for. I was hoping that we were going to be able to land him just cause of all of the intangibles we talked about before and he’s done a great job for us, but no I was not worried about any quarterback controversy.”

Do you believe your legacy and success is now tied to Robert Griffin III?

“Anytime you are in this league for as long as I have been you gotta win. That is the nature of the game and you gotta put a good football team together and that’s what I plan on doing. I think we’ve got the foundation to have an excellent football team. We’ve got  some young players, but I think we are night and day different from two years ago. That’s what you are trying to do. We’ve got that quarterback. We’ve got a couple of quarterbacks that I feel very confident in. We went out and got a couple of receivers in free agency. Our offensive line is a lot more solid as well as our tight ends and our backs as well as our defense. It gives you a chance to have success and like you said everybody’s legacy is what you do in this league and that’s why you go to war each week trying to prove yourself.”

What’s a reasonable expectation level for fans as it relates to Robert Griffin III’s first season? What can we reasonable expect him to do from a performance standpoint?

“Well when you take a look at different players and you take a look at Cam Newton everybody can take a look at all the stats, but at the end of the day they are 6-10. When you start looking at different quarterbacks you start looking at win and loss records or at least that is what I do. The one thing you have to do if you take a look at the quarterback’s that have been in the first round over the last 15 years have played a minimum of 10 games you gotta take a little pressure off the quarterback and not put all the pressure off him with a good running attack and playing a good defense. If you are lucky enough to get drafted in the first round by a team that has a pretty good surrounding cast like Matt Ryan did in his first year, what you have to do is you gotta make sure you have that great offensive line, which he did and a great running attack.”

What is going through your mind offensively with the possibilities that you have with Robert Griffin III’s abilities?

“First of all you have to take a look at all of your quarterbacks throughout your career. You have to take a look at each guy and take a look at everybody’s talent. When I was with Steve Young we ran a basic West Coast offense, which is three and five step drops. We did some personnel groupings, which is a little bit different from what the 49ers had done in the past, but it was basic West Coast system. John Elway was completely different. He’s mainly a shotgun guy throwing the ball down field with seven step drops. Brian Griese was a completely different guy. I am talking about players that started at least three or four years for me and he was more of a formation/game-plan player. He was extremely intelligent to get you the best plays on every play and had some great years. Jake Plummer was a bootleg guy, a naked guy, a roll out guy. Jay Cutler could do it all. He could drop back empty, play action, so you take a look at all these guys and you have to change your system to your personnel and if you have a great one you know you have a great one. All you have to do is get the supporting cast to get them the chance to be successful. There’s too many like Sam Bradford at least in my opinion they’ll give him an excellent supporting cast here in the near future and everybody is going to say oh my god this guy is a great player. Well of course he is. You gotta have the right supporting cast around him and sometimes guys don’t fall into the right situation, but give them some time and a good supporting cast and they’ll show their ability.”

Listen to Mike Shanahan on ESPN 980 in D.C. here

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