Robert Griffin III figured he’d get some help on offense if the Redskins were going to try to recover from a disastrous 3-13 season, but the magnitude of the additions his team made in free agency were more than he expected.
The first wave of free agent signings included a new wide receiver in Andre Roberts and a new left guard in Shawn Lauvao. Then, on April 2, the Redskins made their biggest splash of all, signing wide receiver DeSean Jackson, recently released by the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Oh, I mean, it was great, because it takes a lot off Pierre [Garçon] and it’s going to open up some things with D-Jack and Andre and [tight end] Jordan Reed,” Griffin said Friday afternoon in a wide-ranging telephone interview. “In this game nowadays, you need weapons, and Coach [Jay Gruden] and [general manager] Bruce Allen and [owner] Dan Snyder did a great job of getting us guys not only on offense, but on defense, that are going to help solidify our identity as a team and make us better at the end of the day.”
While in Los Angeles for a promotion with Adidas, with whom he has a sponsorship deal, Griffin took time to visit Jackson at his home. Griffin said he was there for “four or five hours” and got to know Jackson as more than a player, understanding that he was motivated to play every game by the death of his father, Bill, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer in May 2009.
He also came to believe that Jackson was misunderstood, determining that the reputation he earned as being difficult to work with and a miserable teammate was merely a media creation. That, Griffin believes, will also push Jackson.
“I think that’s how a lot of we players operate - we operate with a chip on our shoulder,” Griffin said. “I understand what drives him and how he’s motivated by the passing of his father and what he’s there to prove. We’re ready to prove that with him.”
In addition to Jackson, the Redskins have Garçon, who caught a team-record 113 passes for 1,346 yards last season; Roberts, who was poised to claim a starting role before the team signed Jackson; and Reed, a second-year tight end who showed flashes of brilliance in 2013 despite playing only nine games because of injury.
It seems unlikely that all four receivers will put up big numbers in the Redskins’ offensive system – but then again, Griffin doesn’t think they have to in order to remain satisfied.
“The only way to keep everyone happy is to win, man,” Griffin said. “Not everybody is going to catch 100 passes and not everybody is going to catch 15 touchdowns, but at the end of the day, if we’re winning games, when guys are presented with the opportunity to make a play, they will make that play. I believe in them.”