Redskins Coach Jay Gruden believes that the presence of Doug Williams within the organization will help quarterback Robert Griffin III further mature as a player and a person.
Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen added Williams — who led Washington to victory in Super Bowl XXII, earning MVP honors, and had worked with Allen in Tampa Bay — to the front office, giving him the title of personnel executive. Williams’s duties include assisting with talent evaluation, but Gruden said he also sees the former quarterback developing into a mentor for Griffin.
“It’s great to have a quarterback who’s been through a lot of things similar to what Robert’s going to go through with the publicity, both negative and positive,” Gruden said. “For Robert to have a guy that he can maybe bounce some problems off of and Doug can help him out, it’d be great. Doug can have some of his past experiences he can share with Robert. Sometimes, to talk to a player who has been through similar situations and how they handled it is beneficial to a young kid, and hopefully that’ll take place and I’m sure it has already to some extent.”
Since taking over as coach in January, and after getting a chance to know and observe Griffin, Gruden has praised the third-year quarterback’s drive and work ethic. Griffin’s maturity and on-field leadership also have impressed Gruden.
The coach noted that he has observed areas where Griffin can continue to mature, and one of those aspects involves the handling of criticism. Griffin last season – after a highly-touted rookie season – found himself under greater scrutiny as he worked his way back from knee surgery. Critics found flaws in his game and how he carried himself. The quarterback received a lot of public blame for Washington’s struggles during the 3-13 campaign, and also found himself at the center of a firestorm involving clashes with former coaches Mike and Kyle Shanahan.
This offseason Griffin has worked to improve his game, and Gruden senses that the quarterback is determined to silence the questions regarding whether he can return to the electrifying form of his rookie year, and develop into a consistent winner in the NFL.
Gruden said that Griffin needs to learn how to tune out outside criticism, and the coach believes that Williams will help the quarterback grow and do this.
“Robert, he’s grown beyond his years. He’s mature beyond his years already,” Gruden said. “He’s obviously got a lot more maturing to do, but as far as his work ethic is concerned, about how he handles himself on and off the field, I don’t think that’s going to be that big of an issue. It’s just a matter of how you handle the media scrutiny sometimes. Like I said, last week I think it was, he’s a perfectionist. He doesn’t like negative publicity. He doesn’t like negative plays to happen. He wants everything to be right. He wants everybody to love Robert and that’s not going to be the case at the quarterback position. So having a guy like Doug who has been through it and a lot of guys on staff here that’s been through it is going to be beneficial to him in his growing process.”
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