The Washington Redskins have apparently zeroed in on the player that they will select with the second overall pick in April's 2012 NFL draft. The name of that player will come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but the Redskins are taking steps to insure that there will be a pleasant surprise in store for Redskins fans when that player takes the field in the National Football League for the first time.
Chick Hernandez of ComCast Sports Net tweeted Thursday evening that Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is in Waco, Texas meeting with former Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, and that these visits will continue regularly for the next several weeks.
Source tells me Redskins Kyle Shanahan in Waco Tx. toniteWill visit RG3 couple times each week for next several weeks. #playbooktime— Chick Hernandez (@CHICKatCSN) April 6, 2012
Hernandez' ComCast colleague Rich Tandler confirmed the report, and Tandler points out that these trips to Texas would seem to indicate that the Redskins have reached the same conclusion regarding the Indianapolis Colts' intentions with the first overall pick as the other six billion people on Earth.
The fact that Shanahan is spending time with Griffin indicates the level of confidence that the Redskins organization has that the Colts are going to take Andrew Luck with the first overall pick. Jim Irsay’s public Hamlet routine notwithstanding, if they believe that there was any chance that Indianapolis would pull a shocker and draft RG3, they would not be spending Kyle’s time and the resources to teach the offense to a possible future Colt.
Reports of these visits have led some to question whether the Redskins might be risking running afoul of NFL regulations by meeting with Griffin prior to the draft, but Tandler also reported that the NFL Network's Greg Aiello states that these trips to Texas do not violate NFL rules.
I reached out to Greg Aiello of the NFL to ask about the league's policy on such things and here is his response:
This is perfectly okay as long as it is in the metro area of the player's hometown or college, and there is no time limit.
Since the Redskins won't be breaking any rules and the team is locked onto Griffin as the pick at second overall these sit-downs are an excellent idea. The biggest question mark surrounding Griffin entering the NFL is his ability to adjust from Baylor's spread option offense to the more conventional pro-style attack employed in Washington.
In fact, it was this "fit" in Washington that was the basis for former Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb's rant about Griffin on ESPN earlier this week, during which the former Eagles star stated that he felt Griffin was destined to fail in the nation's capital.
“No,” McNabb said when he was asked whether Shanahan was a good fit of a coach for Griffin. “I say that because a lot of times, ego gets too involved when it comes to being in Washington.
“Here’s a guy, who’s coming out, who’s very talented. Mobile, strong arm, regarded as being very intelligent, football mind. Are you going to cater the offense around his talent and what he’s able to do, or are you going to bring the Houston offense with Matt Schaub over to him, and just have him embedded in it?” Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Houston with Schaub as quarterback.
By travelling to Waco and meeting with Griffin as much as possible between now and the draft his learning curve can be shortened considerably. Shanahan can provide Griffin with the Redskins playbook (or at least part of it), review film of both the Redskins offense and Griffin's time at Baylor, and anything and everything else that the Son of Skeletor can think of to help prepare Griffin for his first NFL training camp.
It's been an up and down offseason for the Redskins, as enthusiasm over the trade that will almost certainly bring Griffin to Washington was dampened by the salary cap penalties that the NFL hammered Washington with for alleged violations during the uncapped 2010 season.
However, if nothing else the Redskins appear to be doing everything possible to insure that their massive investment in Robert Griffin has the best chance of bearing fruit, and that the first time that Griffin stands under center in burgundy and gold he will be as well prepared as possible.