Bob Griese has a reputation as one of the most nimble quarterbacks in
pro football. A Big Ten basketball player at Purdue when he wasn't busy
leading the Boilermakers to the Rose Bowl, Griese at times has seemed
too bouncy for his own good at Miami.
Because of his agility and quick reflexes, this 6-1, 190-pounder has
shown a frequent tendency to scramble when more patience may have paid
off for him and the Dolphins. But now he's 25 and a 4-year veteran and
he has indicated he may mature and blossom.
The major changes at Miami, Don Shula as head coach and Paul Warfield as
wide receiver, have to help a young quarterback. For Griese, they could
create an atmosphere for growth at an important point in his career.
One scout, who believes Griese may be shorter than he's listed on the
Dolphins' roster, has definite reservations about the Miami club's No. 1
draft choice of'67.
"Griese is kind of hot and cold," the scout said. "He has a very quick
release but his height hurts him. He's a good scrambler, but maybe too
good for his own good. Sometimes when his primary receivers are covered,
he'll scramble before going to the secondary receiver. That's not good,
but I think he's becoming more and more an orderly type of quarterback
in that he knows what he can do best and sticks to it."
Griese had to rebound in 70 from a knee injury which kept him out of the
final five games in '69, but he was equal to the task. The question
remained, however, if he could prove to be a real winning quarterback.
"His height hurts him," said a scout. "When he's off, he's really off.
He doesn't have any gray areas about him. Of course, the acquisition of
better receivers has helped him. Look what they've done for Bill Nelsen
at Cleveland. And Griese is a better athlete than Nelsen. But I don't
think he'll ever be great. I think he'll be the type of guy who'll get
you there and then may not get you over the hump."
Griese's early years were spent with a struggling expansion team, of
course, which frequently floundered. That's not the best way to break
into pro football. Just ask Don Meredith. Still, he had some fine
moments even during the Dolphins' hard times. In '67, he achieved an AFL
record when he threw 122 passes without interception. And he generally
has kept his interception rate low through the years.
"I think Griese is an exceptional passer," said one veteran defensive
back, "but he has a lot of work ahead of him. He'll have to learn to
stay in the pocket more. He has scrambled so much at times that he has
hurt himself. He'll have receivers open and he gets under pressure and
dumps the ball. That's not good for him, or the morale of his team."
Griese, however, is young enough to develop and he now works in a more
encouraging atmosphere at Miami.