Prepare yourself for an onslaught of analysis around the early field work of Robert Griffin III. The Washington Redskins rookie instantly has become the focal point of a team that went for years without an exciting starter under center, and he will play under the microscope at every stage of his rookie season.
Here in May, RG3 is learning Kyle Shanahan's West Coast attack, and onlookers are taking notes.
Rich Campbell of The Washington Post this week cited the quarterback's "speed getting outside the pocket on keepers" as the biggest difference between RG3 and the laundry list of subpar passers who have preceded him in Washington. Campbell noted RG3's ability to hit the perimeter in a dash, suggesting it's as if someone pressed the "fast-forward button" after watching Rex Grossman amble about in 16 starts over the past two seasons.
We expect Mike Shanahan to unleash RG3 in a way he couldn't with, say, John Beck. It has been a while since we talked about Shanny as an offensive "mind", but we want to see him stretch the playbook in 2012. Questions remain about the talent base surrounding RG3, but we saw Cam Newton alter the Carolina Panthers last season with many of the same players who fell flat on their faces in 2010.
The early reports are positive -- they usually are in May -- and Redskins fans (many of them donning shiny, new RG3 garb) are locked in. The caution here is RG3's timeline in learning Washington's scheme after coming from a relatively simple offense at Baylor. One thing going for him: He comes across as a heady passer. As RG3 matures in the system, Shanahan won't shy away from allowing him to lean on the physical gifts that brought him to town with the No. 2 overall draft pick. All of this is reason for hope in our nation's capital.