Redskins’ Griffin, Garcon develop a bond

Quarterback and receiver learn on, off field

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Robert Griffin III and Pierre Garcon were done playing in last Thursday’s preseason game, but their work day was not finished. While their Washington Redskins teammates competed against the Buffalo Bills on the scoreboard and against each other for roster spots, Griffin and Garcon reviewed the 14 plays the first-string offense ran.

“We’re still in training camp,” Garcon said, “so we still got a lot of learning to do.”

Not only that, but Griffin and Garcon have a lot of growing to do — together. The Redskins‘ biggest offseason additions are charged with turning the team’s beleaguered offense into a high-octane force.

How Griffin and Garcon, the new franchise quarterback and top receiver, coexist will be one of the top determining factors in Washington’s fate this season and the future.

“We came in together, and we’re looking to grow together as a quarterback and receiver,” Griffin said. “Of course I’m going to have chemistry with him.”

Redskins QB Robert Griffin III ran 14 plays with the first-string offense in the preseason opener at Buffalo on Thursday night. Washington won 7-6, highlighted by a Pierre Garcon touchdown. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

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Redskins QB Robert Griffin III ran 14 plays with the first-string offense ... more >

Evidence of a budding connection was clear in Washington’s 7-6 victory. Griffin completed three passes to Garcon on an eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, the first-string offense’s third and final series. The receptions went for 20, 18 and 20 yards. The final catch was a screen that Garcon punctuated with a flip into the end zone.

Their success on that drive was exactly what the Redskins envisioned when, in a three-day span in March, they signed Garcon to a five-year, $42.5 million contract and traded four draft picks, including three first-rounders, to move up to draft Griffin.

Pierre came in here highly touted; RG, same thing,” said veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who routinely covers Garcon in practice. “They hook up a lot in practice. You saw the touchdown in the game, so it’s a lot to look forward to.”

The early stage of their relationship has been a veritable honeymoon phase. Garcon was among the group of receivers that visited Griffin at his home in Waco, Texas, earlier this summer for a bonding session.

Each player offers only glowing remarks about the other, as they contemplate what they could potentially accomplish together.

“He’s a talented guy, very strong,” Griffin said of Garcon. “He’s confident going across the middle because he knows nobody can really punish him because of his body building and the amount of work he puts in in the weight room. He’s definitely an explosive receiver. Got great hands, downfield speed, and he’s big and tough. So I think he’s got the total package.”

Both players understand their relationship must be cultivated, and they each have experience to help them accomplish that.

Griffin turned around Baylor’s football program and won the Heisman Trophy last season with the help of top receiver Kendall Wright.

“You could say Pierre reminds me of Kendall,” Griffin said. “Just their attitude, they’re so competitive. Pierre doesn’t want to let anybody beat him in anything — tic-tac-toe, jacks, it doesn’t matter what it is. He just wants to win.”

During Garcon’s four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, he witnessed how quarterback Peyton Manning and receiver Reggie Wayne worked together and how successful they were on the field.

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