Will Griffin be anywhere close to the quarterback, the leader under pressure that he has already become as a commanding public person? He’s so comfortable in his own skin he makes others feel comfortable in theirs. You’d assume the transition would work. But the Colts picked Andrew Luck before him, so that erases the notion that his NFL future is a certainty.
How much of RGIII’s personality is the influence of his former career-military parents, how much comes from the values of his religious upbringing and how much is sport-culture osmosis of a youth spent wanting to be like Mike? “I still sometimes pass with my tongue out,” Griffin said.
And how much of his innate presence is just unique to him?
We’re probably going to have a decade to discern such distinctions and enjoy the growing man, because Griffin is almost sure to be the Redskins quarterback for many years. With a player this conspicuously gifted, above and below the neck, if RGIII falters, few will hurry to say, “He’s a bust.”
“Change the receivers,” “get better blockers,” “switch the system” and even “get a new coach” are all ideas that are more likely to come to mind. Write it down: Mike Shanahan will succeed with him or leave before him.
Some young first-round quarterbacks play dumb. Others actually are dumb (the Redskins have had a couple). Most of the smart ones shy from revealing very much. Not Griffin. He’s memorizing facts about his new teammates and doesn’t mind if they know it. “I am lookin’ ’em up,” he says.
Asked if it’s fair to compare him to Michael Vick, he calls it a compliment, then talks about how his father used film of the ancients — “Roger Staubach, a bad name around here, Fran Tarkenton, Kenny Stabler, Randall Cunningham and Steve Young” — to show him how to be “a throwing quarterback who just happens to be really fast.”
Griffin’s ability as an NFL quarterback will take time to judge. By taking another quarterback in the fourth round (my vote: moronic) the Redskins as much as admitted that no prospect on earth is a sure thing. But Griffin’s suitability for the spotlight, his equilibrium with it, is now obvious.
“Some call it a whirlwind,” said Griffin of the last few days. “I saw seven different variations of my name on shirts yesterday. I just go with the flow. It’s all part of the gig. You have to try to wrap your mind around it.
“But it can be difficult,” he conceded, before adding the perfect RGIII touch. “I hope it gets even worse, because that means we’ll be winning.”
For Thomas Boswell’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/boswell.