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ASHBURN, Va. -- Robert Griffin III believes the Washington Redskins' disappointing 0-3 start soon will be a distant memory.
"I think we're real close," Griffin said. "We can see it on the tape. No one wants to be sitting here 0-3. That's not a good thing for us. It's not who we are."
It is for now until they prove otherwise. It wasn't who they were last year, at least during a seven-game win streak to close the season. But even early in the 2012 season, the Redskins played with energy in part because of the then-rookie Griffin and his electrifying style.
He's not electric right now. And the offense isn't providing any sort of jolt to offset a defense that has, through three games, allowed more yards than any other team in NFL history.
"I think the swagger you are talking about, it's hard to have that swagger sitting at 0-3, but I don't think the team has lost its sense of confidence," Griffin said. "We know we can turn it around. We're built to get out of this hole just like we were last year."
I think the swagger you are talking about, it's hard to have that swagger sitting at 0-3, but I don't think the team has lost its sense of confidence. We know we can turn it around. We're built to get out of this hole just like we were last year.” -- Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III
Yes, it often has come back to last year the past couple of weeks. The Redskins turned that 3-6 start into a 10-6 record and an NFC East title. Everything looked good until Griffin tore his ACL in the playoff loss to Seattle. Since then, everything he has done has been scrutinized, from his wedding registry to the meaning of his tweets and his relationship with coach Mike Shanahan.
While the scrutiny continues, Griffin and his teammates have sought a way out of this mess. Last season provided a blueprint, but he said they can't rely on having done it once.
"You look to that as a sense of confidence like, 'We know what this team is made of. We know what we can do,'" Griffin said. "But you don't look at that and relax and say, 'Hey, we can just keep on losing, it will be all gravy.' That's not the way you approach it. You use that as confidence that you can build on toward the next week and don't lose that swagger that we have. I think the team is ready.
"Everybody is disappointed in the way that we've played, and the only thing we can do is change that on Sundays. I can't change it up here. I can't tell you guys any secrets about what is going to happen or how we're going to do it. We just have got to go do it."
Much of the focus has centered on Griffin because, until this past Sunday versus the Detroit Lions, he had not run aside from scrambles. Fair or not, the attention has found him because of the knee injury he had last season. Critics now point to everything with him, from whether he should be playing to whether he should have kept a lower profile this past offseason.
"If you have success -- look at a guy like [Denver Broncos quarterback] Peyton Manning, who is a great quarterback, a guy that you look up to, he's done a lot of great things in this league," Griffin said. "He has a documentary and he's going off this year, and no one criticizes that. It goes with the territory. If you struggle a little bit coming out of the gates, everyone is going to look at that and criticize it, and you just have got to be able to face that."
Shanahan said Griffin will do just that.
"I know one thing -- it's that he's a competitor," Shanahan said. "When you get down or you don't have a great game, he's going to do everything he can, or he can do, to get himself the best opportunity to be successful. And that's what he does. He's a hard worker and hopefully he'll play his best game of the year this weekend."
Griffin turned over the ball twice against the Lions but also had an apparent 57-yard touchdown pass overturned. There are positives the players say they can build upon. But Griffin knows this isn't about just him.
And there's only one way out of this mess.
"We want to start winning, and it starts this week against Oakland so we go into this bye week with a good feeling," he said, "and come out of it ready to go on a tear."