RICHMOND — The clock in the far corner of the practice field was set to two minutes Tuesday afternoon. And then Patriots quarterback Tom Brady went to work.
The veteran put on an offensive clinic in one particular drill, completing 4 of his 5 passes while leading the team more than 60 yards to a touchdown. The Redskins’ first-team defense put up little resistance, though on some well-executed plays, there wasn’t much it could do.
All the while, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III stood 30 yards away and watched the sequence unfold. He said afterward that he was observing the defense and watching his teammates on the other side of the ball operate.
However, he also couldn’t help but notice one of the NFL’s best at work.
The joint practices between the Redskins and Patriots, which continue Wednesday morning, have given Griffin a rare opportunity to see Brady’s habits up close. Griffin said the two also have chatted briefly in between drills and will try to make time for a longer conversation before their preseason game Thursday night.
“He said that this is only my third year and I’ve got a lot of football left in me,” Griffin said Monday. “That’s big, coming from a guy like him. I appreciate that. Hopefully, I get a chance to sit down with him if he’s not too busy.”
While Griffin is still learning new coach Jay Gruden’s offense, Brady has largely played under the same scheme throughout his 15-year career. That contrast was particularly evident in a series of two- and one-minute drills Tuesday afternoon. Brady was noticeably smoother in his delivery and more confident in his decision-making.
“He looks good, man,” Gruden said of Brady. “It’s fun to watch. He’s poetry in motion and obviously a Hall of Famer and the best of all-time, so when you get a chance to watch him in a setting like this, it’s a great learning experience for everybody.”
In the middle of a swarm of cameras and microphones after Tuesday’s practice, Brady praised Griffin’s ability and potential as the Redskins play-caller enters his third professional season. Brady, 37, also stressed the enormous difference between entering the league as the 199th overall pick, as he did in 2000, and being the No. 2 pick like Griffin.
“The news cycle is different now and there is so much pressure for the young guys,” Brady said. “The spotlight is so bright, and these younger players have an opportunity to develop and there are less practices now and less time they can spend at the facility, so there are different challenges that they’re facing.”
During Wednesday’s practice and Thursday’s game at FedEx Field, Griffin will have a few more opportunities to soak up the little things about Brady’s game, from his command of the huddle to his presence in the pocket. There’s a lot to learn. But that doesn’t mean Griffin will dedicate his time to studying Brady’s every move.
“We get a chance to watch them a little bit, but at the same time, we’re trying to discuss what we’re trying to do on offense,” Griffin said. “That’s not really a time for us to watch him like we’re at a zoo.”