RG III: Bryce Harper could help me

Updated: September 26, 2013, 10:43 AM ET
By John Keim | ESPN.com

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III knows there's someone in town who might be able to help him with his sliding.

And he'll be available soon.

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin
AP Photo/Richard LipskiRobert Griffin III acknowledges that he could use help -- even outside-the-NFL help -- with sliding, which might reduce the number of big hits he takes.
"I mean, if Bryce [Harper] wants to do that, I'm definitely up for that," Griffin said. "Bryce, we can do that if you want to, buddy."

Harper will have some extra time on his hands after the Washington Nationals' season ends Sunday. But even the 20-year-old phenom might not provide enough help in teaching Griffin how to do the one thing his coaches want him to do more of this season: get low and avoid big hits.

It was evident a year ago that Griffin struggled in this discipline, and on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, he provided reminders. On one run, Griffin tried to slide after gaining 4 yards. But he looked more like a Little Leaguer trying to slide into second base for the first time and instead plopping to the ground.

Later in the game, a 27-20 loss for the winless Redskins, Griffin dived headfirst at the end of a run rather than slide. Again, more problems. As Griffin tried to protect himself with his left arm, the ball popped out when he hit the ground. Having one arm on the ball wasn't enough.

"The problem is I'm not a great slider," Griffin said. "I know how to slide, but I don't know how to baseball slide, and I think that's what they're talking about.

"But there is just more of an emphasis on sliding feet-first as opposed to going forward, since that rule is in place. It protects you as a quarterback going backward, going feet-first, so that's what you've got to do, so just make a mental note of that and try to slide feet-first."

Washington's quarterbacks in general, and Griffin in particular, do not work on sliding during practice. Griffin did slide during training camp a few times, once drawing hearty applause from fans for doing so at the end of a run.

"You basically run up to a defender and you slide," Griffin said to laughter Wednesday. "It's easier to slide with football pants on. The slickness of the pants ... I know I'm going a little too deep here, but the slickness of the pants helps you slide. When you have shorts on and stuff like that, it's a little less conducive to sliding on the practice field. But I have."

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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