"It was never about Robert. It was about Kirk's emergence. ... I still think Robert can play in this league for sure," he said.
That's a bit of spin from Gruden. RGIII's play in 2014 was erratic at best in limited duty. The quarterback clearly wasn't comfortable from the pocket, missed simple throws and seemed overwhelmed at times in the new offense.
Gruden believes that injuries were to blame for Griffin's struggles and said he thinks the quarterback can bounce back given the opportunity.
"I just think he had a couple injuries, which hampered his ability to perform at the high level he was his rookie year," Gruden said. "I think he's fully healthy now and I think he's ready to compete. He can do the zone read, he can drop for the bootleg and all that stuff that make him effective outside the pocket, but I think eventually he's going to have to master the drop back passing game in the NFL, which he needs to continue to do and he will do."
Gruden said he hasn't talked to Hue Jackson about RGIII, who recently visited with the Browns. Cleveland's new coach worked under Gruden for one season in Cincinnati. FOX Sports' Jay Glazer reported Wednesday morning that the "prevailing feeling" among coaches and GMs at the NFL Annual Meeting is that the Browns will be able to get a deal done for RGIII.
Wherever Griffin lands, Gruden has faith the signal-caller has what it takes to succeed.
"He's just got to go in there and complete and I think that's going to be up to whatever coach signs him," Gruden said. "They are going to have their own skill set that they want him to focus on and they're going to have their concepts of plays they're going to want him to focus on, footwork and all that stuff. He's got to go into it with an open mind and willing to get coached like he always has been."