Rich Gannon never had Robert Griffin III’s talent. He did last 17 seasons in the NFL, quite an accomplishment for a player out of Delaware drafted in the fourth round. So Gannon was a good resource for Griffin to tap into this past offseason. Griffin said Gannon was among the players he reached out to in a quest to learn about life in the NFL for quarterbacks.
Gannon was not a hyped player when he entered the league and it took him probably a dozen years to be considered a good one.
But Gannon, now a CBS NFL analyst, learned many lessons and by the time he landed in Oakland he was ready to take off. Which he did, earning an NFL MVP and being twice named All-Pro. Gannon, who was there when Bruce Allen was their GM, left a mark on coach Jon Gruden. The coach turned ESPN analyst told young quarterbacks to call Gannon, who struggled in his one season with Washington in 1993, and learn a thing or two.
“My preparation was better than anybody’s in terms of what I accomplished during the week and the relationship with Jon and the conversations we had during the week,” Gannon said in a Q&A for this week’s email report. “I felt when I stepped on the field I was the most prepared guy in the field and that gave me the upper hand.”
Gannon doesn’t remember specifics about what he told to Griffin. But he does know what the rookie faces when it comes to adjusting. And it’s not just about drop-backs or reading defenses. It’s much more and it’s something that took him a while.
“Not only understanding your strengths and weaknesses but understanding the strengths and weaknesses of others around you,” he said. “What is the tight end capable of doing? What is he not capable of doing? Can he handle that back shoulder throw in the red zone on a seam route?”
Gannon, also a mobile quarterback during his playing days, knows that Griffin will need to learn to pass from the pocket consistently. It’s a tough adjustment. But Gannon likes what he’s seen of Griffin and heard from others about him.
“I think the guy will have a great career, in talking to Bruce Allen about him the character and mental toughness and the leadership skills he has,” Gannon said. “He took that program at Baylor from a doormat program and turned them into a strong program because he had the ability to be a difference maker. He’ll be a difference maker with the Redskins.”
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