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Redskins hope RG3 can father their offense


The Sports Xchange

ASHBURN, Va. — Robert Griffin III is torn.

He wants to be the same unguarded guy he was as a spectacular rookie quarterback in 2012. But the Washington Redskins’ quarterback also knows he has changed since then, most recently when he became a first-time father with the birth of daughter Reese Ann last Thursday.

Griffin’s private life was often lived in public after he was the critical factor in turning Baylor’s moribund football program into a bowl perennial. He was so excited about the baby that he tweeted the news of her arrival, complete with a photo and her own hashtag.

“He woke me up at three in the morning with a text and photo after she was born,” tight end Niles Paul said. “That’s a different responsibility as a man.”

Paul added that Griffin looked good on Tuesday as the Redskins began their Organized Team Activities. While all of his throws weren’t superb, he didn’t throw an interception.

“He’s doing fine,” coach Jay Gruden said. “He’s just gotta put practice after practice together and show the consistency that we’re looking for.

“Robert’s got a great work ethic. That’s never been a question. He comes to work every day trying to get better. Robert’s a confident guy. He’s (just) gotta perform a little bit better. Playing in the same system for a second year, usually you have a little bit more confidence. You should show improvement, lots of improvement.

“We have high expectations for the quarterback position. I think Robert’s going to be fine.”

That certainly wasn’t the case in 2014 when Griffin dislocated his left ankle in Week 2, returned at midseason only to be benched for Colt McCoy in Week 13 after three losing starts before getting the job back in Week 15 after McCoy suffered a neck injury. And there was controversy about Griffin’s relationships with his teammates and with Gruden.

“It’s been a couple of crazy years,” said Griffin, whose contract option for 2016 was picked up last month by the Redskins. “It shouldn’t be about who likes who, who doesn’t like who, and who said what. At the end of the day, what you do on the field matters.

“We haven’t been up to par the past couple years. I haven’t been up to par the past couple of my years. To have that consistency with the staff and the offense only helps. You gotta be true to who you are. And right now, I’m a 25-year-old young man who can do a lot of different things.”

There were two Griffins during his brief NFL career. As a rookie, he ran and passed with abandon, setting NFL records for passer rating by a rookie (102.4) and rushing yards by a rookie quarterback (815) as the Redskins soared from the NFC East cellar to the division title. Griffin also charmed the NFL and the fans with his smile and his charisma while being voted the Offensive Rookie of the Year.

However, that season ended with a torn ACL and MCL (right knee) in a playoff loss to Seattle. In the two seasons since, Griffin’s passer rating sank to 83.7 and he ran for only 665 yards, was benched by Gruden and former coach Mike Shanahan, and the Redskins went 7-25.

Griffin, who feuded with Shanahan and then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan about how many designed runs were called in 2013, was called out by Gruden after the embarrassing home loss to lowly Tampa Bay last season. However, Griffin was all smiles on Tuesday as he sought a return to happier times.

“Apparently, Jay felt like I was the best option he had at quarterback,” Griffin said when asked about Gruden naming him the starter in February after announcing following the season finale that there would be competition at the position.

“I’m happy about that. I look forward to working together to help this team, to lead this team in the right direction, and to create the culture change that we know that we need to have. We look forward to (not having) that constant change anymore. It’s a mindset change; not accepting (mediocrity). I think we’re getting there.”

As for his own expectations, the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner said, “I’m not going to limit myself to being just a drop-back passer, but if coach Gruden and (offensive coordinator) Sean McVay ask me to be a drop-back passer in any given situation, my job is to make sure that I can be.

“When you get into casting yourself into a certain role, you can limit yourself. As long as I’m able to be the athlete that I (am), it’s my job, my duty to make sure that I do it.”

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