RG III should be focus of search

December, 31, 2013
12/31/13
11:00
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If quarterback Robert Griffin III is smart, and I think he is, he'll stay far away from the Washington Redskins' coaching search. And I mean far away. There's no need for Griffin to offer his input, unless he's asked about a certain coach he knows. There's no need to tell owner Dan Snyder what he'd like in a new offense or in a new coach. He's 23; he doesn't know what he really needs.

[+] EnlargeGriffin III
AP Photo/LM OteroThe ability to develop Robert Griffin III should be a primary factor in Washington's hiring decision.
That doesn't mean Griffin won't be a factor in the coaching hire. Aside from the new coach, the biggest investment Washington has is Griffin. He absolutely should be involved -- if the franchise wants to ever to not only get headed in the right direction but stay on that course.

Whether you think Griffin eventually will be a star quarterback is irrelevant. The Redskins need to give him every chance to be that guy and it starts with hiring the right coach. One player last week said that should be the primary factor in who gets hired -- and, he said, the more important hire will actually be the offensive coordinator. That's the person who will work most closely with the quarterbacks.

I can't imagine the Redskins would hire a coach who does not have a strong plan to help develop Griffin. The Redskins have floundered for more than 20 years in part because of the instability at quarterback. If Griffin somehow fails or doesn't become the player they hoped he'd be, then it will set the franchise back even more.

That makes this the most important offseason under Snyder. The only problem with that line is that it was used in previous offseasons when looking for a coach. But they've never had a young quarterback with Griffin's potential. Heck, he showed a lot of that potential -- and then some -- a year ago. So it's not unreasonable to think he can still be an excellent quarterback. Playing in a new system could lead to some bumps; then again, he did pretty well in a new system a year ago. And a full offseason of work will help, too.

But when you have a talent such as that, you'd better be darn sure of the coach you hire. That means no surprises like a Jim Zorn, a guy who was on no one's radar for such a move.

In the NFL, because there are so many positions and so many factors in winning and losing, one player should not be placed above the others in the locker room. In theory that is. That also means no player should be able to bypass the chain of command more than the others. However, the reality is that Griffin does matter more. He is the quarterback. He is the guy they traded multiple picks for and the guy who needs to do well for them to ever dream about more than just an NFC East title. Griffin did not trust Mike and Kyle Shanahan; we all know that by now. Doesn't matter if it was fair. He also has to mature in some ways so he can develop even more as a quarterback.

Snyder and Bruce Allen do not need to consult with Griffin on this search. They do need to keep him in the forefront of their mind.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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