1. It’s hard to tell a whole lot about players from a rookie minicamp in which no one is wearing pads. But I’m going to quickly move on and say this: Robert Griffin III is impressive in person. It’s not just the arm, which is fantastic. Those saying it’s the best arm in camp since Jeff George aren’t exaggerating. But the thing that jumps out with Griffin, too, is the footwork. He’s just smoother than the other quarterbacks in camp. He worked hard on keeping a good base to throw from; he reached his destination point on his drops just a little bit quicker than the others. And he reset his feet well on throws. Of course, there’s no rush, but there is some urgency because he was throwing against coverages.
2. Griffin’s footwork is just different than the other quarterbacks who were here (Kirk Cousins and Jonathan Crompton). Cousins’ feet are a little rougher. That’s not to say his footwork was bad – and his game is not built around mobility – but that it suffered in comparison. The funny thing is, when Griffin was facing eight defenders (in a seven-on-eight drill), he never tucked and ran. Cousins did so on his first dropback and did it later as well. I’d hate to go after Griffin in any drill focusing on footwork. Maybe the best one came when Griffin dropped back and followed Kyle Shanahan’s direction, stepping up then stepping back and then he reversed field and threw to his left. Smooth.
3. Coach Mike Shanahan said he talked with Griffin about why quarterbacks picked in the first round in the last 15 years have succeeded, or failed. Shanahan analyzed the reasons why and gave his findings to Griffin, most of which surrounded the supporting cast. And Shanahan talked about how you can’t just throw the whole playbook at a rookie. “Nobody’s ready for that,” Shanahan said. “The fun part about Robert and the reason why we gave up what we gave up is that he can do some things that no one has done relative to dropping back, play-action, quarterback keeps… We’ll see what he’s comfortable with as time goes on.”
4. Want more Griffin? The kid has a knack for saying something that could come across as arrogant. But it’s not. And it doesn’t even feel that way. For example, he talked about being in an NFL locker room, but with just a bunch of rookies. Here’s what he said: “Everyone wants to talk about the Heisman and everything like that so they’re not afraid of you, not intimidated by you but they definitely want to talk to you and be around you. It makes you feel good.” That came across more as humbling than anything; he really understands who he is, what his role is and what he means not only to the organization but to the area. Oh, and he shelved the colorful socks for the time being. But he wore gold cleats. Griffin also had a funny line about he and Cousins rooming together and how well they got along. “We ate a burrito together. Not the same burrito, just to clear that up,” Griffin said.
5. There were approximately 60 media members in attendance. On a typical rookie minicamp practice in the past? Maybe 20 to 30 would attend. That’s the power of RG3. Oh, I should mention that coach Mike Shanahan declared him the starter, beginning with the organized team activity sessions next week. No shocker. But, yes, it was surprising that Shanahan revealed it so early. It was smart, though, considering it’s the only logical spot for Griffin to be. I’m anxious to see how he looks vs. live competition this summer.
6. Cousins’ arm was pretty solid, too. He doesn’t have Griffin’s zip, but few do and there’s no doubt Cousins can make all the throws. But he will be the classic system-type QB. It’s helpful that he understands the situation he’s in, but he’ll prepare the same regardless. If he prepares well and plays well in the preseason, and possibly in games where RG3 can’t go, then Cousins eventually will get his shot as a starter somewhere. And he knows that.
7. Shanahan said receiver Santana Moss is 15 pounds lighter than last season, a positive development for both Moss and the Redskins. If he regains some of his speed because of the weight loss, then the Redskins are again set at the slot position. Moss would give Griffin a veteran target whom he can trust on his routes. If Moss had not reported in such good shape it would have been easy to see him getting cut in June. Having said that, Shanahan when asked about who his starting wideouts would be said mentioned Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan and Leonard Hankerson first. “You know these three guys … are playmakers and that’s what we’re looking for,” Shanahan said. He then added about Moss, “He’s come in as good a shape as he’s come in the last few years according to him.”
8. And when it comes to the slot, Shanahan said Morgan, Moss and Hankerson all can play in there. Aldrick Robinson also can play inside. “Exceptional quickness,” Shanahan said of Robinson, who participated in the camp this weekend.
9. Shanahan also said tight end Chris Cooley’s knee is responding well to workouts and is not swelling. The big test for Cooley is to go through the OTAs without any issues.
10. Free agent corner Chase Minnifield said he had no idea his microfracture surgery in January took him off teams’ draft boards. “It was the longest weekend of my life,” Minnifield said of last week’s draft. “I didn’t realize teams took me off until after the draft was over. … But my game will speak for itself when it’s all said and done.” Minnifield was held out of drills, but he said he’s right around 100 percent and will be ready by training camp if not sooner. His dad, Frank Minnifield, became a superb corner in the late 1980s and early ‘90s in part because of preparation; he loved watching film. “Everything he does I do,” Minnifield said. “I’m like a chip off the old block.”
11. Third-round pick Josh LeRibeus spent almost all of his time working at center, after having played guard at SMU. His college coach, June Jones, said that’s the position he ultimately thinks LeRibeus will play because of his smarts. “He picked it up in one day like he’s been doing it his whole career,” Shanahan said.