Robert Griffin III says he needs to take fewer hits

Andrew Sendejo, Robert Griffin III

Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo sacks Robert Griffin III last Thursday. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III said Wednesday that he has seen significant improvement in the offense in recent weeks, even as his team remains 3-6, and that additional changes are necessary. Mainly ones involving protecting himself.

“I just feel like a lot of things are clicking for us a little bit better,” Griffin told reporters this afternoon at Redskins Park. We are putting up a lot of yards; we are putting up points, but at the end of the day it comes down to winning football games.”

Griffin, who threw three touchdowns with zero interceptions last Thursday against Minnesota, said Washington has recently gotten off to quicker starts on offense, allowing it to run more of the creative plays that the team showed often in 2012. Griffin compiled a season-high 114.8 passer rating in the 34-27 loss to the Vikings and rushed seven times for 44 yards.

Griffin attributed the improvement to a better third-down percentage, a problem early in the season, and the offense putting itself in more manageable situations on first and second downs.

During a three-game losing streak to start the season, Griffin vowed to make changes, including running more often and taking on a more aggressive leadership style in the locker room. He said those measures proved unnecessary, though Washington hasn’t yet won consecutive games this season.

“That was me being frustrated,” he said. “We were down early in games, and that takes that threat away from you.”

Griffin added that he still needs to take fewer hits. He was sacked four times against the Vikings and took several hard shots from Minnesota defenders.

“Yeah, I’ve been hit a bunch the past two games, and everyone knows it,” he said. “… Obviously you play the game in a way that you’re competitive; you have the future in mind, but you’re still competitive on that day.

“Bottom line is, I just can’t be taking those amount of hits in any of those games or any of those games in my career. You don’t want to be hit that much, and a lot of the great quarterbacks don’t get hit that much.”

Griffin said he doesn’t think about how the hits might affect his right knee, which he injured last January.

“I’ve always been able to take a shot. You’ve got to build yourself up in the offseason to get ready for those kinds of hits. Big boys play at this level, and they’re going to hit you as often as they can, and it’s our job to make sure we can limit those.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

What’s ahead:

● Shanahan’s thoughts on a contract extension.

More on the Redskins & NFL:

Kelly preps for improved Griffin | Davis not surprised about lost bonus

Redskins struggle to stop quick passes | On the awful special teams

Reid: Shanahan deserves a new contract

Redskins get a second chance to face Kelly’s Eagles offense | First look at Foles

D.C. Sports Bog: Paul tackles kids | Foles recruited by HoyasGarcon’s fangs More

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

Also on The Insider

Nick Williams eager to prove himself following promotion