I’m going to experiment with a new feature during training camp: “Closing Thoughts.” I want to share some analysis about a relevant topic(s) from the day, or maybe the topics won’t be so relevant. We’ll see how it goes.
Robert Griffin III says he has turned off his marketing machine now that training camp has started. He’s focused on playing quarterback, and rightfully so. For approximately the last month, he was extremely visible, and there was a risk involved with that.
Griffin embraced the spotlight and made several high-profile appearances (Gatorade, adidas, The ESPYs, The Tonight Show) before he has taken an NFL snap. As Griffin’s marketing agent at Creative Artists Agency, Mark Heligman, said in an interview Wednesday: “The primary factor is that Robert had the desire to do it. He was interested in marketing from Day 1.”
I could see how that might not sit well with some Redskins veterans, especially ones who have experienced so much losing with this club. The hype surrounding Griffin is over the top (not necessarily Griffin’s fault), and he must back that up with production on the field - and fast. The stakes are high, and the pressure is amplified by how Griffin has put himself out there.
The biggest thing RG3 has going for him now is his work ethic. No matter what products he endorses, he can start to earn his teammates’ respect by working hard. He’s already on that path.
His determination to train - and win - as an amateur athlete is well documented, and that carried over to this summer when he invited some Redskins receivers to work out at his home in Waco, Tex. He also stayed in regular contact with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
“For the most part, everybody has been talking about his charisma, his athletic ability, his accomplishments, his marketability and the appeal he has to so many people,” Heligman said. “But what I think hasn’t been focused on enough is what’s going to come into play now: He is unbelievably determined to be a great quarterback and a great football player. He has that drive and determination and work ethic that you have to have at the NFL level to succeed, especially a quarterback.
“Now that they’re starting training camp and the season soon thereafter, those qualities will shine through, and that’s what I think most people will be talking about for the next few months.”
That is the best-case scenario, of course. Griffin, meanwhile, at least is aware of the dynamic he has created.
I spoke about it with former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann on Wednesday. Theismann has endorsed a few products in his day - he opened his restaurant in his second year in D.C. - and he understands what is required to balance marketability and quarterbacking a winning team.
Theismann has visited with Griffin several times since the draft, and he’s impressed by Griffin’s respect for the game and the franchise.
“He said that he has to prove to other Redskins that he’s worthy of wearing the uniform,” Theismann said. “When you have a young man that takes that approach, that respects the people that have put the uniform on and has to earn their respect, that tells you volumes about the kid.”
So it sounds like Griffin’s mindset is right. The physical production just has to follow.