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“This is a long process,” coach Mike Shanahan said of his quarterback’s comeback from surgery.
Robert Griffin III said he might run the ball more in Sunday's game against the Lions.
Robert Griffin III (10) is sacked by Packers linebacker Clay Matthews in Sunday's loss.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
ASHBURN — Wednesday afternoon, the Redskins did the kind of open-field cut they’d love to see out of their quarterback.
In doing so, they changed direction on just what they expect from Robert Griffin III in his recovery from offseason knee surgery.
Several players alluded to the first two games of the season as being like the first two preseason games for Griffin, and coach Mike Shanahan said the quarterback’s return to form is going to take place over time.
“This is a long process,” Shanahan said. “We’ve talked about it before. This is something that he’s going to get better and better at as time goes on.”
As for Griffin himself, he acknowledged that the offense is different when he’s running the ball, something he hopes to bring to the table this week against the Lions.
“It’s not that I want to run more, I just feel like that’s what we need,” Griffin said. “If that’s what it takes for us to win games, I’m willing to do that.”
The narrative of Griffin’s recovery as a slow process runs counter to the one the team pitched this offseason.
Griffin starred in adidas ads that portrayed him as “All in for Week 1,” and Shanahan dismissed thoughts that there would be any rust.
“It’s not a concern,” the coach said before the Eagles game. “He’s been practicing for the last few weeks at a game-type speed. He’s had more reps in this 2013 training camp than he did from the year before. He’s had about 50 more passes, so he’s ready to go.”
That line of thought has been replaced with a different one, as receivers Santana Moss and Niles Paul called the first two games Griffin’s preseason.
They said the lack of quarterback running is, in part, the result of easing him back into the offense.
“He just got back to playing, man,” Moss said. “This is only like his second preseason game. You’re going to go out there and run him crazy?
“Once he gets his feeling back and the coaches are confident in it, I’m pretty sure they’ll let him do more.”
Receiver Pierre Garcon suggested that Griffin is slowed by his knee brace, which doctors will make him wear all season long.
“When you have extra equipment on you, you definitely can’t move as fluid or as fast as you could if you didn’t have it on,” Garcon said. “It’s common sense, really.”
He said it shouldn’t affect the team’s ability to win, though, because Griffin can still complete passes.
“We know what he can do with his arm, and that doesn’t change if he has a knee brace or ankle weights or rubber bands around his legs,” Garcon said. “That doesn’t really change the fact that he can win games with his arm.”
Of course, Griffin continues to maintain he can run the full offense, and isn’t hindered by his knee brace.
He said he takes the slow start as his responsibility, and will work to get his team motivated on Sunday. He referenced rapper Lil Jon, saying he’d rap in the huddle if it helps.
“That’s what you have to do as a quarterback,” Griffin said. “You’ve got to motivate guys, you have to inspire them to go play great, and if you feel like the team doesn’t have enough energy at the time, you create that energy, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
That energy will get created, in part, when Griffin resumes his normal offensive work.
Facing yet another question about his quarterback’s mobility, Shanahan offered another hint that he’s easing Griffin into the offense.
“In midseason, we can have another conversation like this,” he said. “We’ll see if we’ve gone one direction or another.”
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