Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III needs to exhale. One long, deep breath that dispels demons while giving him time to find solutions.
The passer’s biggest concern isn’t the latest drama of whether he should be benched for Kirk Cousins or that he can’t slide, shouldn’t tweet, does too many commercials or can’t get along with coaches or teammates. Those are the small things that will forever be present for the quarterback, who is now over a year and a half removed from his last knee surgery.
The overall and omnipresent noise is what has been distracting Griffin.
After troublesome performances, he pledges “We’ll get it fixed.” But his play hasn’t improved since coach Mike Shanahan’s dismissal. Tossing away the knee brace hasn’t helped, either, and he’s not been impressive in a new offense that relies more on him. Instead, he’s had a thousand-mile stare at the line of scrimmage.
If Griffin doesn’t regain his true inner confidence, the Redskins are going to struggle to win games. Griffin’s smiling public persona portrays self-assurance, but he needs to hear that inner voice that knows he can dominate like he did during his 2012 rookie campaign.
Griffin needs to breathe deep and just go play.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” coach Jay Gruden said. “[Hesitating] could be a function of him not trusting the coverage, not trusting his footwork, but that’s something that he’s got to get out of. … He’s got to let some things fly.”
Griffin isn’t the only Redskins player having an identity crisis. Despite the addition of DeSean Jackson to a strong receiving corps, Gruden says the Redskins may be a running team. No wonder Griffin is floundering in trying to find a duality in purpose.
“I think our identity has to be diversity and we have got to be able to be good at both,” Gruden said. “We need to be pretty good at everything, but obviously the strength of our football team at this moment would be — I would say — our running game.”
To adjust, Griffin must silence the noise around him. He needs to trust his skills and not overthink things.
“He’s got to do it — he’s got to continue to do it,” Gruden said. “You know, he’s in his third year, like I said, and some of these route combinations are new to him. He’s got to trust the fact that he’s got to believe what he sees, but he’s got to see it first. … He’s got the ability to do it, he’s got the smarts to do it, he’s got the wants to do it. Just got to do it.”
Sort of sounds like a Nike commercial.
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