Quick takes: RG III interview

April, 25, 2014
Apr 25
6:15
PM ET

Some quick takeaways from my sit-down with Redskins QB Robert Griffin III:
  1. It’s only April, so players are always loose and relaxed. So I don’t want to make a huge deal out of Griffin’s demeanor. But it’s clear he’s in a better spot mentally than he was a year ago, thanks to the change in coaching staffs and, just as important, because of his knee. He just feels better and it shows.
  2. I’ll write more on this later, but Griffin worked hard at speeding up his release. But he does not feel in no way shape or form that reading defenses was an issue or caused a slow trigger. Rather, for him it was all about fundamentals, which he worked on with quarterback guru Terry Shea.
  3. Suffice to say, he likes the results of his work. The time for real excitement over his game is when the season begins. But he really hasn’t focused on his fundamentals since his rookie year. It’s too hard to do so during the season, at least to the degree it’s necessary. So it matters that he’s been able to do this so much in the offseason.
  4. Have said this before, but it’s worth repeating: The fact Jay Gruden is a former quarterback, who still thinks like a quarterback, makes a big difference. They’ve already watched film together in which Gruden has told him he could understand his thought process. Yes, Mike Shanahan was a former quarterback (Kyle Shanahan was not), but it’s different with Gruden. Will it be better? Time will tell. Again, it’s much easier to get along now than when you’re losing or have endured the stresses of a season. Their relationship is only in the beginning stages, but Griffin knows that.
  5. Griffin wouldn’t single out anyone in particular for the anonymous attacks. Safe to say he has strong guesses as to where he thought those were coming from; and those people are no longer employed by the Redskins.
  6. He likes being the face and leader of the franchise. That’s important; not all players in his spot have that comfort level. He does. It’s why he liked recruiting players in free agency such as DeSean Jackson. They used him a lot more than people realize.
  7. His inability to work out with teammates last offseason hurt him in his mind as far as building a bond and a trust. Not sure it ever quite got to where he wanted it to be.
  8. The excitement he feels about the offense is real. He’s also good at reminding everyone: They’ve done nothing yet. But the opportunities cause him to smile.
  9. He definitely feels different when running, thanks to being able to actually strengthen his knee. When you’re rehabbing, all you’re doing is returning the knee to where it was before you got hurt.
  10. Griffin wanted to be real clear about one topic: He wasn't benched last season; he was shut down.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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