Robert Griffin III confident he won't be rusty
ASHBURN, Va. -- Addressing the media for the first time since being proclaimed healthy enough to be the Redskins' opening night quarterback, Robert Griffin III said he's more concerned about controlling his emotions than the lingering effects of his surgically repaired right knee.
"Play like you were never gone. I think that's what every guy who comes off an injury has to do,'' Griffin said Wednesday at Redskins Park.
"I think everybody is anticipating that I'll be rusty. That's not the way I think. That's not the way I'm built.''
Griffiin is built to run as well as throw, much like the quarterback the Redskins will be facing Monday night, Michael Vick of the Eagles.
"With the right type of resolve, [Griffin] will be able to bounce back whenever he's mentally and physically confident in his abilities,'' said Vick, who has dealt with numerous injuries. He also sat out the 2007 and 2008 seasons because of involvement in a dogfighting operation that sent him to prison.
"It shouldn't take long. I didn't play all preseason last year and by Week 2 I was back in full form. But I've been in the league for 11 years.''
As a running quarterback, Vick said it's taken every one of those seasons to come to the realization that it might be better to go into a slide than risk injury for the sake of a couple additional yards.
"I can honestly tell you that I didn't learn it until this year,'' Vick said in a conference call. "This preseason was the most I got down and slid. I'm not trying to score every time. Once you tell yourself that's what you're going to do, you kind of ingrain it in your mind. I'm finally at that point."
When will Griffin learn that same lesson?
"[By] Monday night,'' Griffin said, chuckling. "I mean, you guys have been talking to me about it for eight months. I think it's ingrained in my head now to get down on Monday night.''
Like Redskins coach Mike Shanahan before him, Griffin refused to discuss alleged "concerns'' Dr. James Andrews had about his return to action. "Me, Doc and Coach talked, and we'll keep that between us,'' Griffin said.
"All offseason I've been working real hard. My teammates have seen that. It's real gratifying to get cleared to play. It's just been a long journey. To come out of that tunnel with the team is going to be a great moment. My teammates are going to be there to help me manage my emotions.''
Dipping into his silver linings playbook, Griffin added that sitting out Washington's 4-0 preseason might actually have its advantages.
"All I could do was rehab and watch film,'' he said. "It's a funny joke that I'm leading the league in mental reps, but it's the truth. There's more ways to [improve] than just standing out there on the field and watching. It involves watching film, knowing your offense inside and out. Being out this offseason helped me do that.
"Like Coach says, [for a rookie] it's like speaking a new language. Now, I'm fluent in Redskins Offense.''
Shanahan echoed that sentiment. "The first year is usually pretty tough,'' he said. "The second year, you're a lot more comfortable with terminologies. You don't have to think, you can react.''
Not that Griffin struggled much as a rookie. He'll be looking to become the first Redskin since Joe Theismann (1982-83) to pass for at least 300 yards in consecutive season openers. Griffin threw for 320 against the Saints in his NFL debut.
Against the Eagles last season, Griffin completed 30 of 39 passes, good for six touchdowns and a 137.6 passer rating. He also stung Philadelphia nine times for plays of 20 or more yards (seven passes, two runs) in 31-6 and 27-20 victories. Of course that was before the Eagles went through their own retooling process, replacing longtime coach Andy Reid with former Oregon coach Chip Kelly.
Kelly's three-word assessment of Griffin: "He's really fast.''