Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III joined Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan on Monday to talk about his offseason work with QB guru Terry Shea, his development as a team leader, and the start of training camp, which opens Thursday in Richmond.
Toward the end of the interview, Griffin was asked what he would go back and tell his rookie self if he had the chance. The third-year pro coined a new nickname and drew upon a familiar message in his response.
“If I could go back and talk to ‘Kid Rob,’ let’s say, I would tell him, basically, never let them steal your joy, man,” Griffin said. “Never let anyone or anything steal your joy or the joy of your teammates for this beautiful game. I’d tell him to continue to know his why and the why of his brothers in burgundy and gold. His why would be faith, family and football. Faith gives you the strength to support your family. Your family gives you the strength to put it on the line every day for football. And football gives you the platform to impact this world in a positive way. Your brothers do it for family, to be the best and to set an example for the youth, and of course for Super Bowl championships. I’d tell him to know your family includes your teammates and the fans and this city, and in two years’ time, you’ll know without a shadow of a doubt that they have your back. That in itself will inspire you to give everything you’ve got to unite this city and bring it the championships it deserves. That is what I would tell Kid Rob.”
Grant followed up by asking if that message was learned by enduring a 3-13 season and the additional criticism Griffin has faced from fans for his tweets and many product endorsements.
“This league, it’s for the tough” Griffin said. “Everyone’s going to say something about what you’re doing, what you’re not doing. If you win a Super Bowl, you can do whatever you want. If you’re not winning, you can’t do anything, but that’s not how you gotta live your life. … When you have opportunities to do things that are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, you do it. At the end of the day, football is a fun game. It’s a beautiful game because it’s more than about just one guy. It’s about a team. And when one guy eats, everybody eats. And that’s what we’re looking forward to, having everybody eating at the dinner table and getting some dessert this year.”
Earlier in the interview, Danny asked Griffin how he’ll manage to keep all of his receivers happy, with DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts joining a unit that already featured tight end Jordan Reed and Pierre Garcon, who led the league in catches last season.
“The great thing about having so many weapons is all these guys have great attitudes about it, and they’re great character guys,” Griffin said. “At the end of the day, when you win, everybody’s happy. These guys know that there are some weapons around them on the field, so they don’t have all that pressure on them, as well, but also they know when they get the ball, they’re going to have to do something with it, because there’s no guarantee that that ball’s going to come to them 10, 15 times a game. They might only get three, or four, or five shots a game and they have to make the most of that. So I think it’s going to bring the best out of everybody, and I think we’ll see a lot of big plays, a lot of instrumental plays in keeping us on the field and scoring points.”
Regarding his work with Shea, Griffin mentioned getting back to the footwork and release he used before his injury, alluding to mechanical changes he was asked to make. The Redskins’ offensive system won’t change much under first-year offensive coordinator Sean McVay, who served as tight ends coach under Mike Shanahan, but Griffin said head coach Jay Gruden has brought a new energy to the team.
“Coach Jay, he brings his own attitude to the game,” Griffin said. “Energy oozes out of his pores and I think it rubs off on everybody. Football is a fun game. It’s a game that involves a lot of teamwork, and people sometimes forget that. They think it’s just talented players going out there and making talented plays. A lot of times it’s about the camaraderie between your guys and I think coach has done a good job making that glue that sticks us all together even tighter. And bringing in the right guys that his staff has — from players, to coaches, to everybody — it’s just been truly amazing. … We’ve got a coach that’s going to make sure we stick together and he’s going to demand greatness out of us, and he’s out there with us, not just a guy watching on the sidelines. He’s out there playing with us.”
Grant asked Griffin if he feels pressure to be more of a vocal leader heading into his first training camp without London Fletcher, who retired after last season.
“When I came in, London was the guy,” Griffin said. “He played with such a passion and a fire in his heart that guys were drawn to that. I think after my rookie year, I was able to establish that voice. And then after what we went through last year, and you have to stand there and take the stones and everything that’s being thrown at you, I think you earn a little bit more respect from your teammates. I think it’s something that will naturally happen.
“We have leaders on the defensive side of the ball that can step up and fill that void that London left emotionally, with his passion and everything. Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen, we’ve got new guys in Jason Hatcher, Ryan Clark — these guys are all ready to take on that void. But you better believe, when we’re in the middle of the field, or in the middle of our huddle before a game, I’ll definitely be one of those guys that’s in there talking. And not just talking to talk. But a guy that is an emotional leader for this football team, and that’s something that I truly treasure because those guys have voted me captain.”
You can listen to the entire interview here.