Griffin aims to improve in final four games, disagrees with notion he should sit


Robert Griffin III on critics that suggest he shouldn’t play the final four games: “That’s just outsiders looking in that don’t understand the game of football.” (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Although the Redskins have no longer have any postseason aspirations, Robert Griffin III said that his approach will remain the same in the final four games of the season. He’ll obviously aim to lead his team to victories in each of them, but he also hopes to use that playing time to improve in certain areas and get a head-start on next season.

“I think you always have something to play for,” Griffin said. “No matter what, when you step on the field, our record doesn’t matter. Every time we step on the field, we have a job to take care of, and we get to play a game that’s a lot of fun. Losing’s not fun, and everyone knows that. But at the end of the day, you have to show up and make a conscious effort to get better. Whatever it is, when you look at yourself on tape, you say, ‘I need to get better at this.’ Make a conscious effort to get better over these next four games.”

Griffin declined to say what areas of his game he needs to improve on, but he said that he had graded himself with a critical eye throughout this season.

“It’s just as a player  coaches can only coach so much  you have to be able to look at yourself and be hard on yourself, too,” the quarterback said. “Those are things I’m not going to share, but those are things I try to focus on, myself, to get better each week.”

Some opposing players, analysts and members of the media have opined that the Redskins should bench Griffin to allow him to heal physically and mentally and regroup for next season.

Coach Mike Shanahan has said repeatedly that he doesn’t see the benefit of sitting Griffin down the homestretch of the season, however. The coach believes that Griffin can benefit from playing through what he has classified as growing pains  not injury-related struggles.

Griffin naturally disagreed with the notion that he shouldn’t play.

“I don’t take any offense to that. That’s just outsiders looking in that don’t understand the game of football,” Griffin said. “When it comes to a time like this, it’s easy for guys to check out. I think it would be real cowardly of me to check out and say, ‘Hey, I don’t want to play these next four games.’ It’s not who I am. It’s not who any competitive football player is. You want to play, so we’re going to finish out the year and you take what’s happened this year, being 3-9, and you face it. … You have to do the same thing no matter whether you’re winning or losing, and we’ve got four games, and I’m going to give it my all these four games, and I know these guys will, too.”

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:

● Posts every hour on the hour throughout the morning.

● The Redskins practice Thursday at 11:50 a.m. Coordinators Kyle Shanahan and Jim Haslett are expected to speak with reporters afterward.

More from The Post:

Cousins says Griffin needs to play | Moss, Cofield want coaches back

Bowen has microfracture surgery | Williams, 3 others miss practice | Hurt to IR

Orakpo would like to re-sign here | Griffin,  Shanahan relationship is good

Bog: Rob Ford on the team name Cooley: Ditch the read option | More

Reid: By hiring son Kyle, Mike Shanahan has created an untenable situation

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

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.

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Mark Maske · December 5, 2013