RG3's comeback advances with return to team drills

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RICHMOND—Robert Griffin III completed 7 of 10 passes on 16 snaps with the first-string offense against an 11-man scout team defense during Washington Redskins practice Wednesday afternoon. It was the first time Griffin faced a full defense since he aggravated his right knee injury in the Redskins’ playoff loss last Jan. 6.

“It was nice to get him into a team atmosphere,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “I thought he did a good job. It’s always nice to set up defenses that you’re going to face in the upcoming game, but it was a good first day.”

The team did not make Griffin available to reporters. During his weekly press conference on Monday, he attracted national attention by explaining how his dislike for Shanahan’s plan to ease him back into full participation stems from how the plan is predetermined and does not allow for any personal progress that beats the timetable.

Griffin said he didn’t understand all of Shanahan’s reasoning, but he agreed to follow the plan. Some observers interpreted Griffin’s explanation as a challenge to Shanahan’s authority.

“We don’t necessarily like it, but that’s the kind of player he is,” receiver Pierre Garcon said. “He wants to be out there. He wants to help the team. But, you know, he’s still got some time. We don’t need him for just Week 1. We need him for the whole season. Hopefully we’ll have him by Week 1, and hopefully he’ll play the whole season.”

An announced crowd of 10,111 turned out to see Griffin’s well-publicized return to team drills. Three running plays preceded his first pass. He faked a handoff as part of a seven-step drop and completed a 20-yard throw to Garcon near the right sideline.

Griffin on Monday downplayed this step in his return, but Garcon considered it meaningful progress toward the season-opener on Monday, Sept. 9.

“At some point you do got to get live speed or close to game speed as possible because Monday night everything is live, everything is full go. We don’t want to be behind the 8-ball, but we do have to be smart with it. We don’t want to rush him back, but we have a long season, so we have to keep both sides in our minds.”

To this point in training camp, Griffin participated in 7-on-7 passing drills and performed individual agility and passing drills on a side field.

Having him back in the full offense’s huddle provided some players a bit of a boost.

“Robert is just a character in himself,” tight end Niles Paul said. “I hate to use the word, but his swagger in the huddle is a lot different from any of the other QBs that we have. When Robert is in there, it’s a different vibe—just little funny voices. His mannerisms after the plays, after he makes a good pass, we all pay attention to it.”

Griffin’s low point Wednesday was an interception by linebacker Ricky Elmore. Griffin looked right, and Elmore drifted into position to undercut the intended receiver. Griffin didn’t appear to see Elmore, and he threw the ball right to him.

Griffin’s best throw was a lob outside the left numbers that tight end Jordan Reed caught over his outside shoulder. Griffin dropped the ball in perfectly and clapped his hands when Reed made a tumbling catch.

“Today’s the next step,” Shanahan said. “He’ll get more accustomed every practice he has, every rep he gets, and obviously our goal is to get him ready for the first game.”

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