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Gruden: We need lead so RGIII won't have to drop back

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Jay Gruden needs his team to get out in front for plenty of reasons, but especially so Robert Griffin III doesn't have to make reads and drop back.

During a routine explanation on the importance of first- and second-down yardage on Tuesday, Gruden seemed to take another shot at his supposed franchise quarterback, one that has been vaulted in and out of the starting lineup throughout Gruden's short tenure in Washington.

"You look around the league at some of the successful guys. I was looking at Eli Manning -- I think he's on his 195th career start and Peyton (Manning) is on 200. Drew Brees is on 200. (RGIII is) on what, 15 or 16?," Gruden said. "So, it's going to come with time, man. This position is very difficult, especially when you're learning new concepts with a new system."

Gruden then hammered home what Washington must currently do to be successful with Griffin under center.

"It's important for us to have success on first and second down so we don't have to drop back and throw it 30 times a game, have a lead so we don't have to worry about it," Gruden added. "Eventually, when you get behind, when you get in third down, you get behind the chains, those have to be accomplished -- the drop-back reads, progressions have to be accomplished, and that's something we're fighting through right now."

While Gruden isn't saying anything that analysts or fans have not already about Griffin, it's interesting to see Gruden's public relationship with Griffin evolving. If both remain in Washington, it might be important for Gruden to set a tone where no player is above criticism. This might all be planned out.

Or, maybe Gruden is just venting. After seeing Griffin play live in seven games this year, the coach has gotten two performances with a quarterback rating over 100 and no multiple touchdown games. Griffin has also not had a single game of 50-plus rushing yards.

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