(June 14, 2012) Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III enjoyed a circus-like atmosphere at the team’s recent rookie camp and mini-camp, but the new signal-caller will be in for a rude awakening when he, along with his fellow rookies, return to work July 16 to prepare for training camp.

However, in the two low-key recent events, Griffin has showed the pedigree that made him such a coveted draft choice.

“He’s done a great job,” Redskin coach Mike Shanahan said at the team’s training facility in Ashburn, Va. June 12. “You know we talk about intangibles, talk about people working extremely hard, people working at their craft, and that’s what he has done. He’s come in here from the first day, and he has been attentive. He hasn’t missed anything. He’s here early, staying late, and he’s done everything you need to do to master the position.”

Redskins brass are hoping Griffin can master the art of playing NFL quarterback quickly, and fill a position for the team that has seen four different starters in the last three seasons. Griffin will need to live up to his promise in order to secure the franchise’s future and Shanahan’s job. The former Denver Broncos head coach has compiled a 11-21 record since arriving in D.C. in 2010, and many have speculated that this could be his last season in Washington should his team slump again.

But while Shanahan’s fate will largely be tied to Griffin’s progression, the only thing the coach and his new starting quarterback are worried about now is getting ready for the coming season.

“When you’re a quarterback in the National Football League, there is a lot of improvement, a lot of areas you’re going to work on, and that’s what he’s done,” Shanahan added. “Reading coverages, working on his steps, three, five, seven drops, rollouts, play action passes, keeps, and different defenses, different techniques. You know it’s the constant growing experience. But he embraces it. You can tell he enjoys a challenge, and that’s why he’s getting better and better.”

As the rookies break for nearly a month, it’s important that Griffin continues to work. But like the leader the club drafted him to be, he said he understands and cherishes the challenge.

“You can always continue to work on things,” Griffin said after practice. “Whether it’s footwork, getting more familiar with offense, you can never know it too well. I’m not one that’s just going to pick out one thing and say, ‘Hey, you know, I’m bad at this, so I don’t know.’ If that’s the answer you’re looking for you’re not going to get it. I just continue to work on everything, call coach up, you know, once a day, a couple times a week and see what’s happening.”


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO