In Robert Griffin III’s world, there’s a difference between anxiety and nervousness.
“When you’re anxious,” he says, “you can’t wait to go succeed.”
Griffin’s first game action will consist only of 12 to 20 plays, and it surely will not feature the various option concepts coach Mike Shanahan plans to employ this season. But it should be enough to measure how well Griffin is adapting to the speed of the NFL, his ability to read basic defenses, and his decision-making with the ball after two weeks of training camp.
The Redskins‘ new franchise quarterback is eager to make a strong first impression and showcase his progress as fans await his unveiling with more anticipation than a kid on Christmas morning.
“I’m not going to make it too big to where I can’t seize it,” Griffin said. “I’m just going to go out, have fun and do what coach asks me to do.”
Ultimately, Shanahan’s mandate will be to reverse this woebegone franchise’s fortunes. But at such an early stage, his message is simpler.
“Just prepare yourself,” Shanahan said. “Know the plays that are being called and go out there and try to just concentrate play by play. Let the plays happen. Don’t try to make it happen.”
His elite speed, strong arm and sharp mind helped him win the Heisman Trophy at Baylor last season.
Griffin has flashed them throughout training camp, but there are signs his rise will be gradual instead of immediate.
His accuracy during team drills has been inconsistent at times, and he occasionally holds the ball too long in the pocket.
Those growing pains are expected and accepted on the practice field, coaches say.
“That’s a learning curve for everybody because in college, no matter what you do, guys can hold on to it a little bit longer than you can in the NFL,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. “That’s a progression that comes. No matter what you learn in practice, you have to get rid of it quicker and quicker, but they really don’t hit you in practice. He’ll learn that in each game, too.”