ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth won one Super Bowl as a member of the Washington Redskins in 1991, and he won two more rings with the Broncos in 1997 and 1998. The former All-Pro offensive lineman played for two legends in Joe Gibbs and Mike Shanahan.
Friday, as he was looking at tape for his ESPN NFL Draft coverage, I wanted to talk to him about Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins. He was kind enough to take a break and fill me in on his thoughts about a number of things.
JW: What are your thoughts about Robert Griffin III?
Schlereth: ”He is first and foremost an outstanding athlete and very smart. Clearly we all saw his abilities on the field as a Heisman Trophy quarterback. But when I spoke to a number of Baylor players they talked about his leadership qualities and his football I.Q. Almost every player that talked about him spoke of how smart Robert was, telling me he could talk about any subject and that he was outstanding both on the field but also in the classroom. Both football smart and book smart.”
JW: How does Griffin III fit into the Shanahan offense?
Schlereth: "He is a perfect fit. Mike loves a smart quarterback and Robert has that down cold. He likes a guy who can throw on the run. I have not seen a kid with a better arm with pinpoint accuracy while on the run than Robert. Mike likes someone who can stay in the pocket at times and throw; again, I don’t think people give Robert enough credit for his outstanding ability to throw all the passes from the pocket. He throws the short ball great, the intermediate touch pass and the deep ball all with ease and above average accuracy."
"Mike likes a quarterback who can get out on the edge and extend plays and there is absolutely no doubt that Robert excels at that so check off all the boxes for the Redskins offense. Don’t forget Mike took the Broncos to the AFC Championship game with Jake Plummer and nothing against Jake, but we know Robert is more athletic than he was.”
JW: Some say the game has passed Mike Shanahan by. Your thoughts on that?
Schlereth: ”No way. He is one of the hardest working guys in the business with a great football mind, and if he has a fault it is he can be too hands on in all aspects of the team. There was a time when he had to be in control of everything and that is something that could be said for many head coaches."
"I think when he was fired in Denver he realized that he needed to delegate more. In Washington, I can see that he has changed, for the better."
"I will tell you why Robert and Mike will get along, they both are smart and hate to lose. Robert has a chip on his shoulder because he feels he is worthy of being the top draft choice. Mike has a chip on his shoulder because people think he is not the coach he once was. Yes, these two will get along fine."
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