Robert Griffin III had his first chance Monday to show off how much of the Washington Redskins playbook he’s been able to digest as the team started their first organized team activity (OTA). From all accounts, he looked to be in near mid-season form.
As for Skins coach Mike Shanahan, we’ll have to wait to get his opinion of the proceedings, as a collision on the sidelines left the coach feeling “woozy” and was unavailble to the media after practice.
“Yeah, I saw it,” veteran linebacker London Fletcher said of the collision. “It was pretty bad looking. You know, just obviously concerned about his safety. He wasn’t able to brace himself for the collision either. He had his back to the play, so definitely a very scary, scary feeling for a while out there.”
Shanahan was able to right himself after the hit but wasn’t up to meeting with reporters at the end of the day.
Griffin was enthusiastic — as expected — after his first chance to work with the veterans on the team, including tight ebnd Chris Cooley and wide reciever Santana Moss. “It was great. I completed a pass to each of them. So I think I’m in the NFL now. Santana is a guy, and I tell him this, and I tell everybody, he’s not old. But he was a guy that influenced me to play football. And Chris Cooley has been very helpful out there. You know like I said, it’s an honor to play with those guys, so I try to appreciate everything.”
Griffin also stressed the difference between rookie camp and playing with the vets. “With rookie mini camp, you’re more there to try to show coach ‘Hey, you know, you drafted me. I’m as advertised,’ but when you’re with the vets it’s more, ‘I can help this team win,’ show them why coach has so much confidence in you. So yeah, it’s a little bit more pressure but, you know, we were working out earlier in the week last week, and to come out and put helmets on and play football now is pretty simple.”
He’ll have plenty of time to impress his coaches, teammates and eventually all Redskins fans. For now, he’s concentrating on the playbook and adjusting to the speed of the NFL game. “It’s just every play you’ve got to know which side to look at for different coverages,” he said. “But I’m not going to sit here and confuse everyone, but I’m not going to try to make football harder than it seems. Yeah, I mean you know you have to every night, you’ve got to look at it or you’re not going to know what you’re doing the next day. So, like I said, it’s football. You know, I’ve been doing it for a long time and that’s all I can say.”
Fletcher is impressed so far from what he’s seen of the young signal-caller. “He’s very humble, you know very respectful, you know not coming in feeling like he’s entitled to anything. He’s willing to work, he works hard, he’s in here early, and he’s in his playbook.”
“There are some first round draft picks, especially high guys, they come in and feel like things should be given to them. That’s not the case with him. He has an aura about himself that people want to gravitate to him and just get to know him, talk to him, things like that. You can see why everybody spoke so highly about him.”
A rookie’s first day with the big boys can overwhelm some, but Griffin already feels at home. “It was good. The workout was good. I was talking to the guys in the locker room, it felt like I had pretty good command of the offense. I knew what I was doing, knew where to go and I could just play football and let loose.”
Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Nats and the Caps, and previously wrote Nats News Network and Caps News Network. Dave’s first sports hero was Bobby Dandridge. Follow Dave’s Redskins coverage on Twitter @RedskinsDSP.