Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said quarterback Robert Griffin III has gone "back to the basics" and is reaping the benefits so far through five training camp practices.*
"Two-minute drill! Two timeouts; down five – gotta go!"
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden put the pressure on quarterback Robert Griffin III and the first-unit offense at Monday's training camp practice. With the ball at their own 20 with two minutes to go in the "game," the only objective is to find the end zone – a field goal won't do the job.
Griffin III got in the zone:
- Complete to DeSean Jackson; 8 yards
- Shovel pass to Chris Thompson; 4 yards
- Complete to Jordan Reed; 3 yards
- Complete to Ryan Grant; 14 yards
- Complete to Niles Paul; 6 yards
- Complete to Paul; 37 yards
- Complete to Alfred Morris 5 yards
- Complete to Grant; 3-yard touchdown
The result? After completing 8-of-8 passes for 80 yards, the Redskins win the game in the final seconds.
The drive was indicative of Griffin III's entire camp performance to this point: good precision, sound decision making and effective leadership. As he enters Year 2 in Gruden's system, Griffin III seems to be progressing at an adequate rate.
"It's just all about repetition now and gaining more knowledge of the system, anticipation and a feel for the throws and the protections and the run game," Gruden told reporters on Monday. "Obviously the quarterback has a lot on his plate. Any time we get a chance to go out here and practice against our defense and he's got to make sound, quick decisions, it's a good thing."
Griffin III and the two other Redskins quarterbacks, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy, went "back to the basics" this offseason, Gruden said. The team hired a veteran quarterbacks coach in Matt Cavanaugh, who can focus solely on the signal callers' fundamentals – the footwork, the pocket presence, the decision making – and give Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay the opportunity to further spread their duties.
Gruden said Griffin III built a good bit of positive momentum throughout the offseason workout period and minicamp, and has carried it over into training camp so far.
"We evaluate the heck out of him," the second-year head coach said. "Matt [Cavanaugh] coaches the heck out of him, Sean [McVay] does. Overall I think he's handled everything extremely well. He's benefiting from Coach Cavanaugh's presence and he's benefiting from the repetitions. I feel like he's on a steady climb and we've just got to keep him that way."
The Washington Redskins conducted their fifth training camp practice on Monday, August 3, 2015, at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
For his part, Griffin III said entering the offseason program with continuity from the year before with Gruden and his system was beneficial from Day 1.
He's beginning to see the results.
"We're building, we're not just learning the offense now," he said last week. "It wasn't necessarily all me and me being sharp, it was my guys being where they needed to be, us blocking up front and that's what happens. You can put good things on tape and have great days when everybody is working together and that's what we're working towards – to make sure we're more consistent."
Griffin III knows he still has plenty to work on – he won't divulge exactly what that is because it's not for him to "broadcast to the world" – but said he feels on top of the mental part of his game.
"That's something that you have to learn and know what your coach wants out of you – what he expects on certain plays and certain downs and distances," Griffin III said. "I think that's something I've been able to really hone in on and lock in on as far as that, and then the fundamentals of the game – just trying to make sure you get better and better every single day."
Gruden, a former quarterback himself, knows the pressures of that position on – and away from – the field. He said he's working with McVay to find ways to minimize those pressures by building around Griffin III.
"I mentioned before we can do a lot to take away that pressure with strong running game and good sound defense and special teams," Gruden said. "But overall, Robert is Robert. He's going to get a lot of attention and deservedly so – he's a great player. We've just got to keep building him and building his confidence and get him ready for Miami."