And don’t be surprised when Griffin gets rolling again as soon as the season starts. His teammates won’t be.
“Man, he’s just so different,” tight end Fred Davis said. “He has the type of mental strength to come back and be confident right away with whatever he’s doing. . . . To be honest about it, the surprise wouldn’t be if Robert plays like Robert. The surprise would be if he didn’t.”
With his right knee finally sound again and his mind focused on football, Griffin will complete his impressive comeback when he starts Monday against Philadelphia in one of the NFL’s most highly anticipated openers. For Griffin, being all in for Week 1 is a finish line — but it also marks another beginning for someone who plans to climb many more mountains.
Griffin is determined to be better than ever and continue leading a Redskins turnaround that began after he arrived in the District. He’s driven to become the greatest player in history at his position while adding to the Super Bowl trophy case at Redskins Park. His injury temporarily derailed him. Griffin isn’t about to waste another second.
From the moment Coach Mike Shanahan permitted him to participate in 11-on-11 drills during preseason practice, Griffin showed how much he has grown from last season, teammates say. Command of the offense, reading the defense, recognizing the best choice on every play — it’s all second nature to him now.
“You guys [the media] aren’t out there [at practice], but let me just tell you this: He looks damn good,” fullback Darrel Young said. “The way he’s moving around, making plays . . . he’s full go with everything.”
Even while wearing another big piece of equipment. Griffin is expected to wear a brace this season to provide additional support for his right knee, which has been reconstructed twice.
Still, the Redskins say, Griffin in practice has displayed the quickness and speed (no quarterback was more elusive last season) that often frustrated would-be tacklers. His head seems to be in great shape too.
For a quarterback, Griffin’s powerful passing arm and second-to-none athleticism are great tools. His mind is his best one. Some players would get rusty while watching from the sideline throughout organized team activities, minicamp and most of training camp. Not Griffin.
By studying other Redskins quarterbacks on the field and concentrating during film sessions, Griffin actually uses the so-called mental reps to improve his game. Griffin’s commitment to detail and his ability to absorb information quickly were big factors in his smooth transition from Baylor to the Redskins. Those attributes also will aid him in his comeback.