Rookie makes big leap in running the offense
ASHBURN -- The moment occurred Wednesday, the day Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III discovered he knew what he was doing. It wasn't a play or even a series of plays. Rather, it was a feeling.
When the Redskins practiced specific situations, Griffin noticed a change in how he felt. It's a change he carried into practice Thursday.
"The defense was getting after it a little bit, and we came to the last session of the day and we just tore them up," Griffin said. "... It continued out here toward the beginning of practice [Thursday]. It felt good to know as long as you know where you're going with the ball, as long as you're aggressive and confident, you can complete any pass and do anything."
During the Organized Team Activity session open to the media a week ago, Griffin looked rough. More passes were picked off or batted down. Receivers were missed. In short, he looked like a typical rookie quarterback. On Thursday -- showing more of his skills, from throwing to running ?-- Griffin looked more comfortable. Just another day in the growth process of a young quarterback.
"Anytime your quarterback has an 'A-ha' moment, you're feeling good because that means he's feeling good," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said.
And Griffin is feeling good, particularly after a solid day running plays in two-minute and four-minute situations. He said after practice he writes in his booklet everything he needs to work on. On Wednesday, he jotted down only two words: "Just play."
"Because at the end of the day you know it, even after a few weeks you know the offense," he said. "You've got to go out and stop thinking about it and just let it happen naturally. And in the two-minute situations and the four-minute situations, where you have to take control of the offense, it shows you do know what you're doing."
Part of his expanding playbook obviously will provide him an opportunity to use a weapon other than his arms. Shortly after selecting Griffin with the second overall pick, Shanahan boasted the Redskins would be able to do unique things with him because of his feet. Griffin ran more in practice than in previous sessions.
"It's something we put in this week," Griffin said. "We haven't been working on it all week. To me it's familiar. It's something I've done forever, but I've been throwing the ball forever, too. ... [But] I don't want people to think I'm just an option quarterback. Whatever coach asks me to do I'll do it, but you better believe I'll be throwing the ball a lot more than I'll be running it."
Shanahan did not want to talk specifics about how the Redskins will use Griffin as a runner. But it's suffice to say they saw what everyone else saw on film during the scouting process.
"We've run the quarterback keeps. We've run the rolls. We have different types of option schemes available to us. It does present problems for the defense," Shanahan said. "He's feeling more comfortable with the system day-in and day-out. I'm excited that he's so excited because it's contagious when you have a guy that loves what he does, and he's coming out here early, staying late and doing all the things you're hoping a quarterback will do."