- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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"Get back to being myself," he said.
Griffin wasn't just talking about football. After an offseason spent rehabilitating his surgically-repaired right knee, making sure he could play in the opener, Griffin needed time to relax and get away from football.
But getting back to himself also means returning to his playmaking days of 2012. That's why when he said every player needed to evaluate what he must do, he said his conclusion on himself was, "going out and being the playmaker they need me to be."
Griffin did not have a horrible first four games. He completed 62.4 percent of his passes for 1,202 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions (though he threw only five all of last season). But he did not make an impact early in games, and that helped create a deficit.
Just getting away for a few days, including a trip to Williamsburg, Va., helped Griffin.
"I feel good, great actually. Rejuvenated," he said. "Everyone has a lot more energy coming off the bye week. As a team we're all moving on from those first four weeks. We got the win. Aside from that, we didn't play like the way we know we can play. So we have to get back to doing those things."
Griffin also talked about his growth from the opener, acknowledging that he had to work through "growing pains," a result of missing offseason practices and preseason games because of his Jan. 9 knee surgery. And he said of the knee, "the more time you have after [the surgery], the better it'll be."
Whether he sees a big difference in his play from Weeks 1 to 4: "Just more comfortable with everything going on. As a team we played better each week in general, especially the offense I feel we played better each week ... Every guy has to look in the mirror and say, what can we do better? That's the message coach gave us and that's the message we have to take on."
Making plays with his legs against Oakland: "It was important for everybody to see that just to make it more comfortable to call various plays because they feel like I can go out and do it. I wanted to give everyone that confidence. I always know I can make those plays if the opportunity arises and they did."
Whether it was beneficial to play the first four games as opposed to sitting longer: "The only way to come back from an injury like that is to play and that's what I had to do. I feel good about what we were able to do from a groundwork standpoint, building up each game. But now it's time for us to make that breakthrough. We have to do it."
Whether he felt he might struggle or just come back and play to his old ways: "A little bit of both. The way we played, the way I played that first game, was not up to my standards as a team in general. That was disappointing. When it comes to timing here or timing there, sometimes you might be a little off when you come back from an injury like I had. You have to work through those growing pains, but we didn't think it would end up being what it ended up being those first couple games. That's no excuse at all. You have to move on from that and be better."
Scrutiny over his game: Mentally, you have to prepare for that scrutiny. I know I had to deal with that when I came back from the injury in college and there's going to be naysayers. There will be people that doubt you. You can't worry about those kind of things. We did not expect the year to start the way it did as far as going 1-3. But as far as the scrutiny that comes with it, you have to be prepared for that kind of stuff. Whenever people build you up so high, they're just waiting to cut you down."