- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 24, 2014

RICHMOND – Fresh off his first healthy offseason as a professional, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III said Thursday that he has been able to grow and develop significantly over the past six months under a new coaching staff.

Griffin, whose disconnect with the previous regime overshadowed a tumultuous second year, again noted the difference between the way last season ended under former coach Mike ended and the freedom and comfort provided by new coach Jay Gruden.

But he also said that for him, the biggest change has been in coming to training camp healthy – as opposed to a year ago, when he was trying to recover from offseason surgery to repair two torn ligaments in his right knee.

“I think everybody feels different in the organization,” Griffin said. “We’ve just had the opportunity to come in with a lot more energy. There’s a togetherness in the locker room and in the building. For me, personally, not having to come off a knee surgery is a big boost for me. It’s an opportunity to work on my craft throughout the offseason.”

Griffin’s start to training camp wasn’t necessarily what he expected. With a steady rain slightly delaying the scheduled start by a half hour and subsiding only with roughly 30 minutes remaining, players had to slog through less-than-ideal conditions for their first practice since the end of offseason workouts in mid-June.

That gave the defense the edge on Thursday – an advantage several players openly flaunted.

“When I first walked out and saw the rain, I thought, ‘Please cancel practice,’” said cornerback DeAngelo Hall. “When we saw that it wasn’t raining that hard, we were like, ‘All right, let’s go and try to do this thing.’ We had fun.”

A year ago, Griffin was only allowed to participate in 7-on-7 drills, with the coaching staff fearing any kind of strain on the knee would set his recovery back. It wasn’t until the season began that Griffin’s knee was fully tested.

Several times during drills on Thursday, when a pass rusher would get to Griffin, the quarterback would juke and cut in an attempt to keep the play alive.

That different type of feel in July, Griffin hopes, will have him ready for a much better season.

“I think we all know in this room, it’s beneficial to be out there at practice,” Griffin said. “It’s beneficial to not have to worry about injuries. That’s that. Other than that, I don’t pay any of that stuff any mind. We’re ready to go.”

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