The Washington Post

Striving ‘to be the greatest,’ Robert Griffin III relishes added responsibility

Griffin celebrates a first down during the preseason opener against the Patriots last week. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

One of the biggest changes in the operation of the offense under Jay Gruden involves the coach giving his quarterbacks the green light to make changes at the line depending on the look he receives from the defense.

Former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan didn’t let his quarterbacks make many audibles. Instead, he wanted his quarterbacks to take his play call, get to the line and quickly snap the ball before the defense could get a read on what they were doing.

But Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay differ in their philosophy. This represents both a new freedom and responsibility for Robert Griffin III, and he relishes it.

Robert Griffin III, Sean McVay Griffin and Sean McVay walk and talk during training camp. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

“It’s what Jay and Sean want, and that’s why we’re doing it. It’s a quarterback’s dream,” Griffin said. “You want to have some control at the line of scrimmage to get out of some things and protect yourself with different protections. So, I enjoy it. It’s fun.”

The young quarterback says he hasn’t seen the increased workload as taxing.

“I don’t feel overwhelmed. I don’t think anything they’re asking us to do is too much or too heavy for us,” Griffin said. “I like to think I can hold a lot of weight on my shoulders as the team leader and quarterback of the team. That’s what the greats do, and I want to be the greatest.”

Coaches say they see things clicking for Griffin. Gruden said Griffin is getting his team out of the huddle more quickly, and in practice, he has made the checks at the line with ease.

Griffin attributed those strides to increased knowledge and comfort.

It’s just more command of the team in general as a quarterback. … You pick up your tempo when you know the offense,” he said. “Everybody is getting to know the offense like the back of their hand now. So we can increase that tempo and do some more of the no-huddle things. Even in the huddle, we can get in and out of the huddle faster, get to the line and be able to see things as they go along. The process is going along just as we wanted and hoped, and it’s been great.”

This week’s matchup with the Cleveland Browns should provide Griffin with a good test. Cleveland boasts a physical, aggressive defensive front led by linebackers Jabaal Sheard, Paul Kruger and Karlos Dansby, and nose tackle Phil Taylor. The Browns also have a talented secondary, which features cornerback Joe Haden and safety Donte Whitner.

“They’re a good defense on paper definitely, we haven’t seen what they can do, obviously, because they only have one preseason game,” Griffin said. “But they’re going to come out and be physical, and we need to be physical, too. Any time you put a helmet on, it means something to someone somewhere, and we’re going to make sure it means something to us.”

Have a Redskins question? Send an e-mail to with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

The Redskins and Browns clash on Monday Night Football at 8 p.m.

Also from The Post:

Griffin vs. Manziel tale of the tape | Manziel: I’m not ready to start yet

Thompson, Sharpton out | Starters will play a quarter

Gruden acknowledges that he’s learning in his first go-round

Maske: Penalty flags are flying this preseason | On QB battles

More NFL: Home page | D.C. Sports Bog | The Early Lead | Fancy Stats | Fantasy

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.



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Mike Jones · August 17, 2014