RICHMOND — Quarterback Robert Griffin III said Monday that his surgically repaired right knee has felt healthy and he has felt sharp in the early stages of the Washington Redskins’ training camp. As Griffin puts into effect what he called “Operation Patience” while waiting for Coach Mike Shanahan to clear him for full participation in practices, he said he’s hopeful that his workload will be increased next week.
“After this week, the timeline is pretty vague,” Griffin said at the team’s training camp facility here. “But there’s definitely a plan for this week and maybe a plan for the beginning of next week. And after that, it’s kind of just wait and see.”
Shanahan has limited Griffin to individual drills, including seven-on-seven passing drills, in the early stages of camp, withholding Griffin from full team drills. Griffin said he understands Shanahan’s approach but is eager to move on to the next step in his return.
“I think there is a timeline,” Griffin said. “There will be about another week of what we’ve been doing… and then after that week, then it’s probably a little more see what happens because they’re going to eventually put me back in those team reps, give me more reps in practice. That’s what I really look forward to.
“I’m using this last week to continue to take those mental reps and do that kind of thing. But after that, for me I look forward to being back out there next week, maybe not doing the whole practice but getting a few reps here and there. That’s kind of what they’ve told me. It kind of just depends on how things go. I think if I can show them after six straight days of practice [this week] that my knee is fine, they’ll be a lot more receptive to putting me out there.”
Griffin called taking a few snaps in the Redskins’ walk-through Monday morning “a little bump up from last week.”
He also said: “We’re gonna ramp it up a little bit. They’re going to give me a few more reps in walk-through every day. And then after that, it’s just about him putting me into the team reps, trusting me in there that I’ll be smart, them trusting that I can make the moves to avoid guys. I feel like I can. But once again, I’ve got to defer to Coach and let him make that decision.”
Shanahan said last week he thought it would take two to three weeks of camp for Griffin to work his way back into football shape, suggesting it would take at least that long for him to clear Griffin for 11-on-11 drills.
“I’ve felt good out there,” Griffin said. “It’s not easy to sit around and watch. I call it ‘Operation Patience,’ and that’s what I’ve got to be. I’ve got to be patient.”
Griffin said he feels ready for more.
“I don’t feel like I’m pushing it or if I was to do it, that I’d be pushing myself or pushing my leg,” he said. “I feel like I’m ready for that. But we’re being real cautious right now and taking it slow. That’s what Coach wants to do. So all I do is I go out there and prove to my teammates, prove to the coaches, the fans that I’m ready to go. And that’s my only goal.”
Griffin, who underwent surgery in January to have tears of his anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments repaired, said he has experienced no pain or swelling in his knee. He said he has no further mental obstacles to overcome in his return, in terms of being confident in the soundness of his knee while playing.
“I don’t think I’m mindful of it,” Griffin said. “I don’t really worry about my leg any more. I just play football. That’s a sign that you’re getting ready. Consistently I forget my brace, like I did on the first day [of camp] and everybody made a big deal out of that. But I feel great. It’s just about Coach wanting to be real cautious with me. And that’s understandable. So I’m just taking it that way and I feel good in seven-on-seven.”
Griffin said he is confident that he can plant on his right leg to make throws as forcefully as he did before his injury.
“I think that’s one thing we all pointed out when watching film,” he said. “After the knee injury, it was a lot harder to plant off the back leg. As the games went on, it got a little bit better and a little bit better until the Seattle game when it got re-hurt. That’s one thing that the coaches have been paying attention to. I paid attention to it in rehab and I feel like I’m past that. I feel like I can plant off my back leg just like I did before the injury.”
Griffin said he will wear a knee brace all of this season.
Shanahan has stressed the need for Griffin to safeguard himself by knowing when to slide at the end of runs and when to throw the ball away this season. Griffin apparently is listening. He even slid at the end of a run during a non-contact seven-on-seven passing drill last week, drawing cheers from the crowd.
“It was fun,” Griffin said. “Coach said he wanted to see me make instinctive moves. So I didn’t really plan on scrambling. But once everything broke down, I just scrambled out of the pocket, saw a running lane and just thought everybody would love it if I just slid in practice for once. So I went ahead and did that.”
Griffin did throwing drills, he said, while he was in France on his honeymoon before training camp. He perhaps is seeing the benefits, saying he thinks his passing has been crisp in the early days of camp even after missing all of the Redskins’ offseason practices.
“I don’t feel like I missed the whole offseason,” he said. “Apparently and obviously I did. But timing wise, rhythm wise, it doesn’t feel that way. The first seven-on-seven session, I was able to go 7 of 8 right off the bat. There was a lot of adrenaline pumping in that just to show everybody that I’m okay. My teammates come to me, pat me on the back and tell me that they like what they see and that it’s good to have me back. So that’s what you play for. You play for your teammates and I’m just glad that they can see it. I know how I feel and they know how I look.”
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.
Today’s afternoon practice is at 3:20 p.m. Here’s our guide to camp, if you’re headed to Richmond.
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