Griffin has wowed Redskins
Quarterback Robert Griffin III plans to remain focused on football until he and his fellow rookies are due back at Redskins Park on July 16 to prepare for training camp.
Not that he has to do it.
The Washington Redskins won't practice again for several weeks and Griffin will return to his native Texas during the break, but he won't be lounging around a pool sipping margaritas. The Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor hopes to work out with some of his receivers during the break at a time and place to be determined.
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and coach Mike Shanahan are equally pumped about Griffin's passion for the game. Kyle Shanahan said that he has picked up the offense faster than expected for a quarterback who didn't play much under center in college.
''You get a guy this talented, it's exciting, it pumps all the players up,'' said offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who feuded with quarterback Donovan McNabb in 2010 and agonized through Rex Grossman's 25 turnovers in 2011.
However, RGIII had a rare poor day on Wednesday. Though he took it in stride.
''This is the longest year of your life, for rookies, coming straight out of college, going right into combine training, pro days, minicamps, OTAs,'' Griffin said. ''It just keeps going. I'm not going to be sad or mad about it. I have a blessed life and I'm going to go out and make sure I continue to lead that blessed life.''
Griffin, one of the most accomplished dual-threat quarterbacks in NCAA history, has certainly made his share of plays this spring, but at 22, he knows that he hasn't come close to mastering the position in the manner of Hall of Fame passers Steve Young and John Elway, who won Super Bowls under Shanahan's direction.
''I'm just more comfortable with everything,'' Griffin said when asked how he has improved since rookie minicamp began on May 4. ''I felt like I knew where I was going with everything (during Tuesday's practice in which he maneuvered to find new receiver Pierre Garcon for a short touchdown and veteran starter Santana Moss for a long one), saw certain things in the defense and exploited (them).''
However, Griffin believes that you can never know an offense too well. To that end, he plans to call the Shanahans at least a couple of times a week during the break to pick their brains.
Griffin has also relied on advice from veteran teammates including Chris Cooley, the two-time Pro Bolw tight end who has played with seven quarterbacks during his eight seasons in Washington.
''The way he's come in and worked has been extremely impressive,'' Cooley said. ''His ability to pick up our offense and his ability to come in our huddle and call the plays confidently, get us to the line, it's been pretty exciting.''
The rookie is thrilled that the veterans have welcomed him as their leader.
''I know they need to believe in me,'' Griffin said, citing helpful tips he has received from Grossman, whose starting job he has claimed. ''You need guys that are on your side, that aren't looking to stab you in the back, but (are) looking to help build the whole franchise up.''
Notes: Cooley joined the injury list on Wednesday with what Shanahan called a ''slight'' hamstring that wouldn't have sidelined him again if the Redskins were going to practice on Thursday. However, after weightlifting and watching film, the players will be done because ''we're a little banged-up and we've done a heckuva job throughout the offseason.'' ... Receivers Leonard Hankerson (hip) and Josh Morgan (leg), running backs Roy Helu (hamstring), Tim Hightower (knee) and Tristan Davis (knee), guard Kory Lichtensteiger (knee), defensive ends Kentwan Balmer (ankle), Stephen Bowen (knee) and Adam Carriker (feet), linebacker Jonathan Goff (knee) and cornerback Josh Wilson (thigh) were all unavailable or limited during the offseason but all are expected to ready when training camp opens on July 26. ... Raheem Morris is very happy to be coaching Washington's defensive backs after being canned as Tampa Bay's coach. ''I'm the very best and I was the best last year when I got fired,'' said the ever-vocal Morris. ''Coaching is coaching. There's (only) 32 people that do what I do in the world.'' ... Griffin and center Josh LeRibeus, the third-round choice, are Washington's only unsigned players.