Why Mike Shanahan Is Brilliant to Name Robert Griffin III Redskins' Starter

Kyle Ramos@Kyle_RamosCorrespondent IMay 23, 2012

ASHBURN, VA - MAY 06: Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins drops back during the Washington Redskins rookie minicamp on May 6, 2012 in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins certainly paid a hefty price to move up in the 2012 NFL Draft to select Robert Griffin III, but it may end up being one of the best moves the franchise has made in recent memory.

In an even better move, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has given RGIII the keys to the car right from the start by naming him the starter.

By doing this, Shanahan has demonstrated his immediate trust in Griffin III, who is carrying heavy expectations to be the long-awaited savior for the Redskins—who have not been to a Super Bowl since they last won in 1991.

What makes this move so brilliant is the fact that Shanahan is doing it right away because he recognizes that RGIII may be one of the new faces of the next generation of elite quarterbacks in the league.  

If Shanahan simply let Griffin III get involved in a quarterback competition where he would have to win his job, it may bring into question the Redskins decision to trade away so much to draft a player that should be able to make an immediate splash.

Make no mistake, Griffin III will make mistakes in the beginning, and he will have difficulties playing in the tough NFC East, but he is going to be a very special player, and he will definitely make an impact almost immediately.

Take Cam Newton for example, he wasn't named the starter until the end of the summer last year, and he still had a phenomenal rookie season with the Panthers, who have struggled a lot the past couple of seasons.  Now with Griffin III being in the starter position from the get-go, he will have even more time to get familiar with the offense while taking snaps with the first-string guys that he will be playing alongside all season.

Another reason why making RGIII the starter right away is a beneficial move is because it's going to help him a lot in the long run.  

Something that many people noted about Griffin III during his tenure at Baylor was his high character and strong work ethic.  Shanahan knows that by handing Griffin III the job without any professional experience under his belt, he is giving RGIII expectations to live up to.  By doing this, Shanahan knows that Griffin III will do almost anything not to let down his coaches, teammates and fans and so he puts all the pressure on himself to perform.

An according to Don Banks of Sports Illustrated, in only one day of official workouts with the Redskins, veterans were already impressed with the rookie quarterback.  

This is the first sign of Shanahan's decision coming into fruition since he is getting some good support from the rest of the team.  It could have been very possible that a bold move like this could have upset some veterans who might have felt that Shanahan was rushing the process by giving RGIII the job on a silver platter.  However, so far that doesn't seem to be the case in Washington and Griffin III may only continue to win the team over with his great play and hard work.

Lastly, what made this a great decision by Shanahan was that Griffin III is truly the Redskins' best option at quarterback.  I know he hasn't even scratched the surface of playing professional NFL football, but when the other quarterbacks on your depth chart are Rex Grossman and Kirk Cousins, you may make the same move as Shanahan by going with the guy with tremendous upside.

Grossman hasn't done much in the past two seasons and hasn't shown much consistency in his career in general.  Therefore, Shanahan and the Redskins probably didn't feel like they were shafting him too much by giving RGIII the nod since Grossman has had some chances to prove his worth as a starting quarterback and simply has not given Washington any reason to believe in him for the long term.

With the offseason workouts now getting into full swing, we can only watch Griffin III progress with his team as they attempt to completely turnaround a franchise that has been in the cellar for far too long.

Shanahan's decision will either make him look like a overzealous risk-taker or a genius, but my guess is that this time next year, we'll look back and see that it was definitely the latter.