Less media glare suits RG III 'fine'

Updated: June 5, 2014, 10:26 AM ET
By John Keim | ESPN.com

ASHBURN, Va. -- The drama, if there even is any with the Washington Redskins right now, doesn't surround one player. And that's fine with Robert Griffin III, who was the focal point of the past two offseasons. As a rookie, he entered as The Savior, ready to revive a struggling franchise. Last spring, it was about The Knee. Not to mention his relationship with coach Mike Shanahan.

This spring? Griffin is just a player.

"The storylines don't all lead back to me and that's fine," Griffin said. "It's about 'we.' It's time for us. We got a new coach. We have new additions. All the guys are here doing great things."

For Griffin, it's a chance to have a normal offseason, spending time learning a new offense and perfecting tweaks in his own game. On a number of occasions Griffin has focused on just building chemistry with teammates, something he did not feel he could do a year ago.

After having knee surgery in January 2013, Griffin's goal was to return for the opener. Mission accomplished. However, he did so without the benefit of working on his game.

"You always understand the value of an offseason," he said. "That's where you build a foundation to get ready for the season, but when you don't have an offseason, you don't use it as an excuse. That was the message trying to be sent last year. You don't whine about it, you don't cry about it. Maybe it was taken the wrong way and people thought I didn't think I needed it. You always need it. But when you don't have the opportunity, you have to play the hand you're dealt and I did the best I could with that hand."

That hand led to 16 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions, a 3-13 record (though he was removed from the lineup with three games left, ostensibly to keep him healthy for the offseason). This offseason, Griffin also has to learn a new offense under coach Jay Gruden. But Griffin said there are enough similarities between Gruden's offense and the one he ran under Mike Shanahan to ease the transition.

"All the concepts translate over," Griffin said. "It's about the philosophy of the coach. Jay has a different philosophy. We'll find out what that is on Sundays."

The conversation with Griffin's coach this offseason is not about leaving him in games, or about the nature of their relationship. Rather, it's about mundane topics such as Griffin's fundamentals, which the third-year quarterback has focused on since the season ended.

"He's got a good base and a sound fundamental skillset," Gruden said. "Now it's just a matter of perfecting some things and changing a few things up, tweaking some things and where he's comfortable he doesn't have to think about it when he's going back to pass. He can naturally do it."

But Gruden also knows an offseason devoid of drama is good for Griffin.

"He doesn't like negative publicity," Gruden said. "He wants everything to be right. He wants everybody to love Robert and that's not always going to be the case at the quarterback position."

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.