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Skins Quotes: Training Camp Begins!


The Commissioner
Staff member
BGO Ownership Group
Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC

Marine Corps Virginia

July 24, 2013
Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On the plan for his activity during training camp and the preseason:
“The current plan is, you know, patience is the key. So, I did all I could in the offseason – working out, rehabbing. I passed all of my tests, with Dr. [James] Andrews, with doctors from the Redskins and with the coaching staff, so they just want to make sure that we aren’t doing anything too soon that we don’t have to do. So let some of these other guys get ready for the preseason. And if it comes around that I’m ready go – maybe in the third preseason game – but as far as my understanding goes, preseason is really not even in the air; it’s not a worry at all, I feel like I can play. I think Coach [Mike Shanahan] feels I can play without any preseason. So there’s no need really for that. But, patience is the key, and like I said I’ve done everything I can. I’m just going to work myself back in to it. And it just feels good to be back out there with the guys.”

On his tweet about the team “easing him in” after being medically cleared:
“It basically means that I’m going to have to opportunity to throw to everyone. I won’t be limited from that aspect. I’ll do everything in practice except for the team sessions. Coach wants to ease me in that way so that I’m not, right from the get go, going from not practicing at all in the OTAs, to right in to team having guys running at you, and you know you react and something like that... That’s basically what it means. We’re going to do 7-on-7 and I’ll get a lot of those reps and I’ll get reps in the walkthroughs. And I’ll be out there at practice doing everything except for the team sessions.”

On going 100 percent and the difficulty of throttling back:
“It’s the perspective you have to take. I’ve been an over-achiever my whole life and that’s not something that I shy away from claiming or not saying that I am. I am an over-achiever but I want to make this decision as easy for everybody as possible. So whether it’s Coach [Shanahan], the doctors, the decision for me to play Week 1... If they want me to be patient right now and ramp it up later, then I’m willing to do that and they know that I’m going to be, I wouldn’t say compliant, but that I’m going to follow those rules, follow those guidelines, do as much as I can within that. And when it’s time to go full-go, then I’ll be ready to go.”

On what he did on the field today:
“We did the conditioning and I ran with the team so that was a good moment, just to be back out there and actually be able to be around everybody without someone being afraid the NFL was going to fine us. So that was good.”

On what he accomplished last preseason and how he would respond to not playing this preseason:
“I’ve only got one year of experience and I know everybody points to that, but that one year was big for me. And last year in the preseason, first year in the league, I kind of got a lot of the jitters out. You get to play against those guys. The preseason, like they say, aren’t real games, but for those snaps for those guys that are playing, they are playing for real. That’s the way I like to look at it. So I got to get those jitters out and just feel that NFL atmosphere. Whether it was a good preseason game or a bad preseason game, you get those out. And then the first game of the season we played the [New Orleans] Saints and it was all-go from there. This year, I don’t get that opportunity to get any jitters out, but I think that having the one year of experience of playing, and there’s no jitters on Monday Night Football.”

On how not playing preseason snaps affects his overall development:
“I don’t think preseason actually matters that much when it comes to that. I think if you talk to a lot of the vets, they don’t even like the preseason. I think that’s a well-known fact. Even I know that and I’ve only been in the league one year. I think you can get that timing, those reps in practice and that’s what I’m going to get later in the preseason. I look forward to that, but right now it’s just about… Everybody is on the same page. We want to make sure that we continue growing as a team. Me and Mike Shanahan’s relationship is paramount to this team being successful.”

On if he thinks he can get as sharp as he needs to get prior to Week 1:
“Oh, yeah. I try to take as many mental reps as I possibly can. I’ll be ready to go and take the mental reps I have to out here as well. I’ll be sharp and I know that they know that I’m not going to let myself not be ready to go, not be sharp out there on the field.”

On what he missed out on the last six months:
“Just that camaraderie with the team. It’s the same thing I went through the first time. It makes you miss the game, it makes you miss your teammates. I know people might question that or say that is a pause-worthy moment, but it’s y being out there with everybody. It’s a special feeling being part of a team. That’s why everybody wants to play football, that’s why everybody wants to make the team. It’s not just about the money. It’s about building those relationships with those guys. I feel good that I got cleared to practice and I can go back out there and do that because standing around watching isn’t very fun and a lot of times you can feel detached from the team. So to actually be in there and doing things with everybody and someone not being afraid to snap me the ball because Coach is going to yell at them because I’m not cleared, that makes things a lot easier.”

On his reception in Richmond:
“It’s been great. We’ve been here for a day and a half now. The fans are really excited that we’re here. I think we’re excited. It’s going to be a lot easier transition going to meetings and coming to practice and just spending time with our teammates getting to know them a little better. Everybody has been really receptive and we look forward to having everybody out here.”

On if he does not expect to play in the preseason:
“Unless it’s a necessity, then I don’t think I’ll play in the preseason unless Coach says so.”

On what he has left to prove physically:
“In my mind there’s nothing left to prove. That’s the way you have to approach the game when you’re coming off of injury. If you pass the test and in your mind you feel like you’re ready, then you’re ready to go. For me, getting to 100 percent is getting back out there on the field, getting out there with the guys and making football-like movements because you can’t mimic those. You can’t mimic instincts. When a guy is passing rushing you, you can’t really mimic what you’re going to do. You can say you’re going to step up and slide to the right. But sometimes you don’t do that. Sometimes you do something different. That’s what I’ve got to get back to doing out there on the football field. I think gradually throughout the training camp and the rest of the preseason I’ll get back to that and be ready to go.”

On his development as a pocket passer and how having tight end Fred Davis and wide receiver Pierre Garçon healthy helps his development:
“Yeah, I mean, you know, that’s the goal. The goal is longevity in the league, you also want to win. So as a quarterback, I don’t like to conform and say you can’t win outside the pocket. I think you can win outside the pocket, you’ve just got to be smart about it. That’s what I learned over the past six months about myself. It’s about what we need to do to win. Maybe that’s keeping me in the pocket a little bit more. Maybe that’s throwing the ball away a little bit more, sliding, doing all those things that are necessary. Because if it’s the second game of the season, you know, I think I proved how tough I am and the heart that I have on the football field and my teammates know that. But if it’s the second game of the season, and it’s third-and-four and I’ve got two yards I might just run out of bounds and slide, if I have to. If it’s the Super Bowl, I’m going to get those two yards. That’s just the way you have to think, that’s the way I think now. Wwhen it comes to having Fred [Davis] and Pierre [Garcon], those guys back, and a lot of the rookies we got that are going to get some action now, you know, it’s just more weapons in our repertoire and our offense is pretty good right now, but to have all those guys back is going to make it that much better. You want to just do it and don’t really talk about it.”

On how close he is to 100 percent:
“I don’t know what number I am right now, I feel healthy. I don’t know if anybody ever plays at 100 percent. I don’t know what the number is.”

On his relationship with Executive Vice President/ Head Coach Mike Shanahan:
“I think we’re on the same page. When we sat down and talked about what I was going to do in training camp and the weeks to follow, it was a good moment for me 'cause all the hard work that I had paid off and they’re going to allow me to get back out there and do what I do and that’s play football and lead and just have fun with the guys. I think we’re on the same page right now. You know, we all make mistakes. Last season, we all understand that, we’ve all talked about it. It’s time to move on, we’re moving forward and hopefully moving up to a Super Bowl.”

On what he’ll do tomorrow and over the next few days:
“I’ll do everything as far as individual drills. I’ll get to take snaps with the centers, do drills with the running backs and wide receivers. I’ll do 7-on-7. I’ll get to do a little bit of the walkthrough that we have. It’s not a two-a-day, but it’s kind of a two-a-day. And after that, whenever there’s 11-on-11 drills, they’re going to keep me out of those.”

On if he was worried about his medical exam this week:
“Last week I tested for Dr. Andrews. He is the guy that did my surgery. I felt pretty confident that if I passed those tests, there was no need for me to just sit around and just watch all of practice. It’s not that I wanted to jump in and do everything right away; I know the smart thing to do is to ease me back in and that is what we are going to do. Once I passed those tests, I was pretty confident. But I had to come back and go through a workout with the coaches just so they felt comfortable with it. I am going to be doing that for the next four or five weeks continually trying to prove to everybody that I am ready to go and I don’t shy away from that. I know everyone is going to question me and doubt me but I guess that is what you guys are supposed to do.”

On if there is a psychological component to returning from injury and not playing in the preseason:
“Yeah, I mean, it is football. I have played for a long time now, just the game. You love the game. It is really psychological. You can’t psych yourself out, you kind of have got to psych yourself up and say I am going to be ready, just the practicing. The way I practice, I practice to make it perfect. So you go out there and you play full speed in practice, and that is how you get those game-time reps. I think the biggest thing for me going against the Eagles aside from them being a really good team will be managing my emotions. I have been able to do that in that past and I have got to look to however I did that this season so that when I play in that first game, I am not too emotionally high and out of control.”

On specific improvements he is looking to make to his game:
“I do not know if there is anything specific. No one is ever perfect. We all can get better at things. Like I tell the guys, we want to dominate. So that’s not putting up a few touchdowns every other drive or anything like that. You want to go out there and dominate teams and we can do that offensively and defensively. So that’s just being more consistent with what we are doing. There were times last year we dominated teams and we let them back in the game. You want to make sure you continually dominate. But as far as being a quarterback, you can always work on everything – footwork, accuracy, just playing smarter, getting through every single read, all those things you can work on all the time. Like I said, I am a quarterback, a quarterback first. I am not a running back, so my job is to throw the ball and that is what I am want to do.”

On linebacker London Fletcher’s career:
“London has been amazing, just his whole career. It is good to see a guy like that come out here time in, time out. I know I have been here for a year, but guys that have been here multiple years [have] seen him do it and it’s truly amazing. I’ve missed one game in my career and hopefully it will stay like that.”

On his conditioning test and if he is going to wear a brace this season:
“I am going to wear a brace. I felt good out there doing the conditioning test so it is what it is. I’m ready to go. Everybody passed the test.”

Linebacker London Fletcher

On if he is completely healthy entering this season:
“Yeah, I feel great. This time of the year, most guys get excited. The grass starts to smell a little bit different because you know football season is just right around the corner. So for me, I’m excited to be here. I’m ready to get going. I feel good.”

On saying last year he’d never had a quarterback like Robert Griffin III and his thoughts on him now after his first season:
“Well, if I was impressed with him before the season, how do you think I feel about him now? [Laughter]. You know, I saw what he was able to do and accomplish last season. I think he exceeded all expectations, and that’s really hard for a guy like him to come in with such high expectations. And when you think about it, this franchise has been looking for a franchise quarterback for, I don’t know, over 20 years, so to finally get one… And the talent is one thing, but also the way he carries himself and the way he goes about his business is refreshing.”

On what it takes to go from making the playoffs one year to being a perennial contender:
“I think it’s a combination of things. Obviously, having good football players, the right coaching staff, players buying into the system, health, guys being healthy and really just having a mentality of 'every day I’m going to come in and work, not worry about what happened the last game, not worry about what happened yesterday,’ and things like that. Consistently having your same core group of guys on your team year in and year out. That’s probably the difference.”

On how close the team is to making the next step:
“I think the organization, Coach [Mike] Shanahan, Bruce Allen, they’ve done a great job of adding to the talent of this football team. I think the roster, when you look at the young talent they have, the veterans, the older guys they have, I think it’s a great group of guys. The locker room, we like our locker room. We like coming to work. And guys just really have a mentality of, “We want to come in and get better each and every day.” When you have that type of character, that type of talent, that mix of young and old, you can accomplish some good things.”

On the difference of having training camp on the road:
“For me having been in the league now for – this is my 16th training camp and prior to coming to Washington I’d always gone away for camp – having been in D.C. and now it’s my seventh year, so for six years, being at home for training camp, I was kind of looking forward to this. Going away, getting back. I think it bonds your team a lot better than staying at home and practice, because guys, any time you get free time, guys want to run home and do some other things, but now with us being here in an environment where we’re forced to spend more time with each other, guys can go out and have a meal together, spend more time together. I think that’s beneficial to our football team in general. And also, it allows us to connect with some fans who normally wouldn’t get a chance to see us practice, so I think it’s great.”

On the impact of linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker returning from injury:
“’Rak, he’s what you call a difference maker. So for him, he can help make some of the other players better. When you’re able to pressure the quarterback, get sacks on the quarterback and also from a game plan standpoint, the offensive coordinators, they have to account for him, so he’s going to help other guys play better football. Again, last year 'Rak was out and guys had to step up. [Linebacker] Rob Jackson came in, played well for us and a number of other guys came in and played well for us. So you’ve got to have depth on your football team because injuries happen but I think if we can be as healthy as possible, keep our starters and continue to add guys in there who will play a lot of football for us, that’s going to make a difference for us.”

On if he thinks about his durability:
“When you mention it, or when somebody else mentions it. It’s just something where you get up every day and go to work and don’t think about it. It’s pretty much how I go about my business. I get up every day, come to work and don’t think about the durability part until somebody brings it up. I feel good. I try to do a lot of different things to keep myself feeling good. The training staff does a great job of working with me, and the coaches do a great job of monitoring my reps and things like that. So, I don’t think about it a whole lot.”

On the role luck and other factors play into his longevity:
“Yeah, that’s genetics. So, genetics are one. God blessed me with some good genes, a little bit of dumb toughness too probably [laughter]. So, it’s a lot of different things. Really the main thing I look at is not really wanting to let my teammates down and being honest with myself and want to be out there on the football field with them. So, if I feel good enough to play, I play.”

On if it is “RGIII’s world” and how the players feel about that:
“We don’t think about it. You know, it’s not a situation where we’re feeling like 'It’s RGIII’s world.’ He’s a dynamic talent. He’s a great person, so I think that part of it makes it easy. He gets a lot of attention nationally and deservedly so. And that’s just a part of it. When he came in, he’s a Heisman trophy winner, but he’s a charismatic person and a tremendous talent. So you know there is no situation where us as teammates look at him like, 'What about the rest of us?’ or anything like that.”

On the difference in the defense in the second half of the season last year:
“Last year we did have two different types of seasons. I think obviously having some injuries and trying to figure out different roles for different guys, that factored in. Coaching staff really realized, “OK, I’ve got these guys. What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? Let’s play to these guys’ strengths. I think we really just locked in better as a football team collectively. Offense played great, defense played great, special teams played great. It was a lot of different of things that came into play as far as us playing the way we played at the second half of the season. Guys really honed into the details of the game plan a lot better, understood situational football a lot better. So those things all played a part into us playing better down the stretch.”

On his first impressions of training facility in Richmond:
“I think this is a fabulous facility. You know, when you pull up, it’s a brand new place and you walk in there and the facility is great. The locker rooms are great; the fields are magnificent. This is a pretty nice setup for you all. So I think, for us, we appreciate this.”

On if he thinks about his future and/or his next contract:
“No, not really. Really, in the National Football League, you are always on your last year of your contract for the most part. This is just the nature of the business. I have scratched and clawed my whole career. I came in as an undrafted free agent, so I was on the last year of my contract 16 years ago when you really think about it. It’s not something I spend a lot of time with. I’m focused on this season and that’s pretty much it and the rest will take care of itself.”

On quarterback Kirk Cousins’ performance last season:
“I think with Kirk, it started in the preseason. He progressed each and every practice. He did some good things in the preseason games to where Coach Shanahan felt good enough about making him the No. 2 guy as a rookie. You know, in practice, he made plays. He did a great job of getting us prepared for games from a defensive standpoint. And then when he got his opportunity to play, you think about the Baltimore game when he had to go in there in a situation where we were behind, he makes some great throws and plays for us to win the game. Then we go to Cleveland, he played well. Kirk’s definitely shown that he can play in the National Football League.”

On if he is “a better player, a smarter player or both”:
“I think from a physical standpoint, obviously with the 15 years of wear and tear, there’s a decline that goes with that. But mentally, I think I’m as sharp and in tune with my game as I’ve ever been. So where the physical part has gone down, I’ve gained from a mental standpoint in understanding whether it’s a line and a step here to the right or to the left, just different things that help me still continue to play at a high level. I think it’s a combination of a lot of different things that has kept me playing at a high level.”

On balancing the desire to play against knowing his body’s limits in his career and how that can be applied to Griffin III’s career moving forward:
“I think the more you spend time in the game and you understand if you’re going to be in there and hurt the team, you have to come to the conclusion, 'You know what? I’m not putting us in the best position because of my health situation, so let me get out the game and let the next guy go in and play because he’ll give us a better chance to win this ballgame. With Robert, his position of quarterback, it puts more internal pressure on you to go out and want to be there on a play in, play out basis, game in and game out situation. There’s no more important position on the football team than quarterback, so it’s a fine line where you have to realize and understand and listen to your body, trust the coaches, trust the training staff, the medical staff and really be honest with them about how you’re feeling and then go from there.”

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