Completing every pass he threw, Robert Griffin III looked confident Tuesday in his final full practice before Thursday's preseason opener. Against Cleveland, its about continuing to sharpen his game.
Robert Griffin III enters the Redskins' first preseason game with some confidence after having what he called his best training camp practice to date.
Next will be work against a live defense for the first time since the 2014 regular season finale against the Dallas Cowboys.
"I felt from a mental and a fundamental standpoint today was my best practice of camp and that's what you want," Griffin III told the media on Tuesday. "But it helps when you have guys who are in the right spot where they're supposed to be. That's what we've been preaching the entire time, everybody has to do their job and my job is to facilitate the ball in and out of the right checks and make sure we're moving the ball. So I thought today was great."
Griffin III unofficially completed all 13 of his pass attempts on the day including a 55-yard touchdown completion to tight end Niles Paul during 11-on-11s.
He looked calm in the pocket, reading his receivers, reacting to coverage and avoiding the pressure around him.
While Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said Griffin III is only expected to play around a quarter or so Thursday in the 2015 preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns, the quarterback's mindset is similar to that of a regular season game.
"We're going to run the offense that they're going to run, whatever they call we're going to execute it on the little things -- the fundamentals – and get back into the swing," Griffin III said. "And feel the guys at game speed and get going. I'm not worried about how many passes we throw or this that or whatever, just want to make sure we're all on the same page."
Griffin III is feeling more comfortable in his second year in Gruden's offense and some of that has to do with defensive coordinator Joe Barry's system which is forcing him to the right decision each time.
"It's been fun to see different looks," Griffin III said. "We went against Haz [former defensive coordinator Jim Haslett] the last couple of years and he throws a lot of two-shell looks at you, but when we play during the season we see a lot more single safety and that's what our defense does and they mix in some two safety as well. I think every defense is trying to be multiple, but it's good to see something different out there."
Gruden said Griffin III's playing time Thursday, along with the rest of the starters, will depend on game situations. The second-year head coach said he generalized when saying Griffin III and the rest of the starters could play "at least" a quarter.
The Washington Redskins conducted their eleventh day of training camp practice Tuesday, August 11, 2015, at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
"If we have a nice 12- or 14-play drive that could change everything," Gruden said. "We will be on a play count for our ones on offense. We're going to discuss that at a later date here, probably tomorrow morning. But I want them to anticipate playing at least a quarter so they get in their frame of mind that they might have to go back out for a second or third series."
Even if it's only a handful of snaps, every play counts on the road to the final 53-man roster.
"They might only play 10 snaps, but those 10 snaps are very important and crucial to maybe making an impression on us," Gruden said. "Will they get more snaps in preseason game two or three or four? Every snap in this preseason game is important for somebody and important for us as a group to set our standard. I'm excited to see a lot of these guys play, not only our ones but our twos, our threes, these rookies, some of these free agents we have. I'm excited to watch them and it's very important to all of them."
Cousins to work with second team
Kirk Cousins, who was listed as the No. 2 quarterback on the team's first unofficial depth chart, told the media Tuesday that the plan is for him to run the second team Thursday, playing approximately in the second and third quarters, before Colt McCoy completes the game.
"From what they've told us, Griff will start [but] it tends to be pretty fluid," Cousins said. "It depends on how you perform. The better you perform I think the more quickly they're more willing to take you out and see what someone else can do."
Just like they did throughout the offseason and have continued to do during training camp, though, Cousins expects McCoy to take second-team reps during the preseason as well.
"I think I'll probably play two quarters in the middle of the game and then Colt will finish," he said. "And then the next game they'll probably flip-flop us. But we'll see how it all goes."