It was a beautiful sunny morning and Tony Dungy was at Kramer Middle School in Washington on Monday to help Comcast kick off the second year of Internet Essentials, a program that helps low-income Americans get on the web. The program connects 400,000 Americans to broadband, offering Internet service, low-cost computers and free digital literacy training to families with children who qualify under the National School Lunch Program. It is a cause that is very important to Dungy and one he works tirelessly to see come to fruition.
JW: It is only three games into the season, but what are your thoughts on Robert Griffin III?
Dungy: From day one I felt that Robert was one of the best and brightest athletes to come out of college in years. Andrew Luck is no doubt going to be a star in the NFL, but Robert Griffin, III is an instant impact player. I have known Mike and Kyle Shanahan for years, and Robert is the perfect fit for their play-action offense, and he is the best quarterback that Mike has had to work with since John Elway. Now with the addition of Robert and some other fine players they have on this team fans are seeing what made Kyle and Mike successful offensive coaches.
JW: What makes Griffin such a good play-action quarterback?
Dungy: It starts with his field awareness. He knows where all the players are on the field and he very quickly goes through his progressions. Then he is smart enough to understand how to stay in the pocket till the last minute to make sure he gets a pass off in time. Should the pass not be there he can extend the play with his legs, allowing him to find the open target and get the ball to them quickly. He has the very rare ability to make all the throws that a professional quarterback needs to make while on the run, or he can stop on a dime and fire the ball from a dead stop 50 yards on a rope. There are just a handful of quarterbacks in the NFL that can make those throws and Robert is one of them and we are only three games into his career. His ability to pass the ball out of so many formations opens up the running game and creates the balance that the Redskins coaching staff is looking for week after week.
I was one of the first analysts on record to say that I would have taken Robert first in the draft because as good as Luck is and he is a lock to be a success, Robert is capable of doing more things to win games for you right now. I also give Kyle Shanahan a great deal of credit for using some of the plays Robert ran at Baylor and working them into his offense. The Redskins are averaging 33 points a game because Robert, Kyle and Mike have developed a wonderful game plan. This offense is only going to get better over time as Robert develops and if the Redskins defense kicks in then look out.
JW: What about the Redskins as a team?
Dungy: They are building a contender for the long run. Washington has their franchise quarterback in place and plenty of talented players on both sides of the ball. I would say that they are about two years away from returning to being a regular playoff contending team just like they were under coach Joe Gibbs in the 1980s and early '90s. They are close but not quite there yet, but Robert will make every game interesting.
*All quotes used in this story were obtained first hand in an interview set up through Comcast public relations.