The Redskins have thrown a lot at Griffin – his signal-calling duties as well as an array of defensive looks to prepare him for the pressure he will face during the regular season. Griffin has responded well.
Griffin quickly learned the playbook during rookie minicamp, when he made it through three days of practice without blowing a single play or formation call. Griffin’s coaches say picking up the verbiage hasn’t been a problem for the rookie. The most important thing they want to see is an increase in recognition of coverages and pressures, and quicker reactions. That appears to be happening.
“I’ve been very impressed with the way he handles himself both on and off the football field,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “He’s an overachiever with a lot of talent. When you have a guy like that, then you have a chance to get better, and your team has a chance to get better.”
Griffin indeed looks sharper than he did at the start of training camp, when he struggled with accuracy and timing during his first practice..
Griffin admitted that he had a shaky first outing, but says he’s “proud” of the progress that has followed.
“Day 1 of training camp, everyone is amped up, a lot of jitters,” he recalled. “You want to come out and impress, and I think we did some things good, but we also did some things bad. The best way to describe it is, we hit everything that was closely contested, and we missed everything that was wide open. I think we made some strides since then, since Day 1, and I’m extremely proud of the offense. By no means are we satisfied, but we definitely have gotten better since Day 1.”
Of his timing with his wideouts, Griffin later said, “You can never say you’re there because you can always be more on-point with them, but I feel like we have a pretty good chemistry right now, and if we had to play tomorrow, we could do it and be effective.”
His teammates are also encouraged. They understand that as a rookie, Griffin will have his share of miscues. But his body language, and the way he relates to his teammates hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“He’s a real confident player. There’s no doubt about that, which is good at his position,” running back Tim Hightower said. “He’s very confident in his abilities – not in an outward expression, but he’s very secure with himself. He’s not like some guys that come into a locker room and try to see where they want to fit in, what personalities. He’s very comfortable in his own skin, but every single day after practice, he’s always asking guys how they think it went. He’s always asking guys, whether it’s myself, whether it’s London Fletcher, ‘How can I get better? What do you think about my performance?’ So, he’s confident in himself, but always trying to get better.”
Griffin says he has many areas to improve upon, but he declined to divulge what weaknesses he sees in his game.
“It’s just working on everything,” he said. “I’m not one to say, ‘I’m really bad at that.’ It’s not that I’m naive or stubborn. I just don’t look at myself that way. Whether it’s working on blitz pressures and picking them up and knowing where to go with the ball, or what to do in certain situations, I’m working on all those things: feet, drops, hitching up in the pocket, just completions and staying on the field, that’s the bottom line. If you constantly put yourself down and say, ‘Hey, I really need to work on that,’ you’re going to think you’re really bad at it. So I try not to think that way.”
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