- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Because his surgically repaired knee won't let him take part in team drills at Washington Redskins OTAs, Robert Griffin III is taking "mental reps" with the team. It's the only preparation he's able to do right now, and Tarik El-Bashir detailed one as an example:
During offense vs. defense drills, Griffin watched intently from the 15-yard line alongside the coaching staff and other reserves. He held a play card in his hand as Kirk Cousins directed the first team. Griffin stood several yards behind Cousins, but was close enough to hear Cousins call the play, audible at the line of scrimmage and identify the defensive alignment.
After each play, Griffin initiated a brief discussion with someone, whether it was Cousins, quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur or another member of the coaching staff. He was also quick to give Cousins -- or a receiver -- a pat on the helmet after a well-executed play.
“The mental rep, alright, so basically you know the play, you know what defense you’re going against, you need where you are supposed to be looking, what all of your eligibles are and everything,” Griffin said. “It’s basically paying attention. That’s what a mental rep is.”
Obviously, this is nothing unusual. Injured players and quarterbacks do it all over the league. I just think it's interesting to note what's going on because it's easy to forget that Griffin is a second-year player who's still learning parts of the offense. He was so great as a rookie that people might assume there's no more learning for him to do, but the plan for Griffin's development wasn't limited to a single offseason of offensive installation and practice. Mike Shanahan believed all along that Griffin's NFL education would extend into this offseason as well, and there are aspects of the offense that will be worked on this year that weren't last year. Griffin has to be paying close attention, because once he gets back behind center, it may not be as simple as picking up where he left off last season.