The Washington Redskins signed Robert Griffin III to a four-year rookie contract with a fifth-year option last Wednesday. For a legion of fans, that is the beginning and end of all Redskins news.
Griffin 3rd was the second overall Draft pick, but the media treats him in all respects like the No. 1 pick. Griffin signed a day before Andrew Luck inked his deal with the Colts. Pundits go so far as say Griffin will have the better year with more to work with than Luck does.
RG3 won the Heisman Award that Luck was expected to win, has appeared on Leno and Letterman, is featured in commercials for adidas and Gatorade, is an everyday feature somewhere in sports media, and stared down an extortion attempt. Most amazing of all is that none of this arises from the Daniel Snyder hype machine.
Robert Griffin III is a media phenomenon before ever tossing an NFL pass. He just has a sense for it. The Washington Post tells the story of Griffin’s pre-Draft dinner with Mike and Kyle Shanahan, Daniel Snyder and GM Bruce Allen when RG3 stood, removed his hoodie and exposed his official Redskins-logo tee shirt. The Redskins must have upped the ante that night to move into the Rams No. 2 Draft spot to snag Griffin.
To be successful, head coach Mike Shanahan must do for Griffin what he did not do for Donovan McNabb, adapt his playbook to the things that Griffin does well. Doug Farrar writes in his Shutdown Corner column that Carolina Panthers blend of the pro style playbook with features of the Auburn offense launched Cam Newton to a spectacular rookie season. He argues that meeting RG3 halfway as the Panthers did for Newton can have a similar result.
Shanahan said months ago that he would adapt the playbook to Griffins unique skills.
Third-round Draft pick Josh LeRibeus signed his rookie contract with the Redskins. All of Washington’s rookies are signed in time for training camp.
Mike Freeman at CBSSports.com projects a 4-12 finish for the 2012 Redskins. Freeman notes that NFL scouts believe RG3’s passing accuracy will make him an effective pro quarterback as soon as next year, opposed to three seasons from now. Freeman remains skeptical.
One cause of concern is how well DC Jim Haslett and new defensive backfield coach Raheem Morris can work together. Both have strong-willed personalities. The coaching staff is more talented than the defensive talent, writes Freeman. He calls Morris a defensive savant and Haslett underrated as an assistant. But, Freeman overlooks Washington’s talent, especially on the front seven, to make his point.
OLB Brian Orakpo says he is fully recovered from shoulder surgery last January and will be able to participate in training camp. Orakpo, Washington’s sack leader the last three seasons was limited during mini-camp.
The Redskins placed undrafted free agent CB Chase Minnifield and RB Tristan Davis on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. NFL rules prohibit their practicing with the team. The two players count against the 90-man training camp roster, but can be added to the final 53-man roster at any time.
The Redskins are the fifth-most valuable sports team in the world, and second most valuable NFL team, according to the annual survey by Forbes Magazine. They value the Washington franchise at $1.56 billion.