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Griffin III's Success Founded In Preparation

Posted Nov 1, 2012

In his first eight games in the NFL, Robert Griffin III has given the Redskins their first must-see playmaker in a generation, rejuvenating a fan base. Here's how.

In his first eight games in Washington, Robert Griffin III has provided the Redskins with their first must-see playmaker in a generation, instilling confidence in his teammates and excitement with the fan base.

At his best, Griffin III has been an MVP-caliber playmaker, capturing rookie of the week honors three times and rookie of the month honors once. 

Even at his worst, he has conducted himself with poise and given the Redskins a chance to win.

On Wednesday, he discussed his success through his first half NFL season, deflecting the praise to his teammates and lamenting the team's 3-5 record.

"Just playing in the NFL is an honor. It’s been enjoyable for me," he said. "[But] it’s a lot more fun winning than it is losing. We just want to get more wins so that we feel like we have played well. We’ve just got to go out and make sure it counts on the scoreboard."

Through the first eight games this season, the offense is averaging 26.6 points per game, good for seventh in the NFL.  At this point last year, the team was averaging 14.5 points per game, and ranked among the worst in the NFL.

Part of the Redskins' success on offense has been Griffin III's ability to execute the read option offense, an unorthodox scheme with little success in the NFL.

Griffin III said the team's execution in the option is founded in physical ability, but the team's success comes from a confidence in success.

"The option won’t work if you don’t wholeheartedly buy into it," he said.  "It’s not something you have to run 15 times a game, but if you don’t buy into it in practices and get the guys to run the option or the zone read, then you won’t be successful at it.

"A lot of these coaches run the same schemes. They have different names for all the plays, but it’s similar schemes and similar route combinations. So anything you can do to throw a wrinkle in there and do something different makes it a lot easier."

By head coach Mike Shanahan's estimation, the option forces opposing defenses to spend considerable time on a small part of the game plan.

"If you’ve got the ability to run the option, there is a lot of time spent on that option. I’d say half their practice," he said.  "So when they spend half their practice doing something or working on something that you may not even use in a game – or maybe they work on it 10 percent and that is going to be your game plan, 80 percent of it – you can keep a defense off-balance or at least keep them up at night."

Despite his growing celebrity and hot media spotlight, Griffin III has maintained a humble approach to the game, remembering to stay grounded through the ups and inevitable downs.

"I think I try to appreciate just every moment as its own," he explained.  "Your first win. Your first touchdown pass. Your first rushing touchdown. Your first comeback. All those things. You try to appreciate everything and try not to weigh too much on your personal success so that you don’t have to be humbled.

"I try to make sure I stay grounded. A lot of people around me make sure I stay grounded. You just never want to feel like you’re bigger than life. So when it comes to that, I don’t want to ever need to be humbled because I always appreciate things and make sure I continue to push forward and try to do better."

Last week against the Steelers, Griffin III was the statistical victim of 10 dropped passes, leading to his worst individual day as a professional.

After the game, Griffin III rejected any comfort in knowing he did his job in the equation.  If the team didn't win, Griffin III knows he could do better.

"It’s not something you ever proud of because you lost the game," he said.  "Even with the drops, the completion percentage was down. I base my performance on how we play and whether we win or lose.

"Obviously I didn’t play well enough to help us win the game so that’s the biggest thing. It’s never, ‘Individually, did I play well?’ You just can’t look at it that way."

This Sunday at home, Griffin III squares off against Cam Newton, the rookie sensation from a year ago, and someone to which Griffin III draws regular comparisons.

Griffin III does not shy away from the style and statistical comparisons, but reminded the media that he is no mirror image.

"Everybody wants to be their own person, but it is what it is," he said with a shrug.  "It’s not my job to try to fight off the comparisons or to try to compare. It’s going to happen. It’s something that’s inevitable.

"I really don’t worry about it too much."

With the bye week set for Week 10, Shanahan and Griffin III both admitted a sense of urgency to beat the Panthers and draw their record to 4-5.

While he did not discuss specifics, Griffin III said he trusted his coaches to put him and his teammates in the best position to win.

Calm. Cool. Collected.

"It’s just about trusting your preparation. We have a very dynamic offense" he said.  "The coaches give me the game plan. It’s my job to make sure I match that plan, because I am the one out there playing.

"Every week coaches install some new things to keep defenses off balance. We’ve gone out and executed and moved the ball. It’s just about knowing what you are doing out there and not feeling the pressure, even when other people do."

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