- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - Robert Griffin III was noticeably more relaxed when he reported for the Washington Redskins voluntary workouts.

Maybe it has something to do with him being named Washington’s starting quarterback, or that he became a father since the season ended. Or it could be a little of both.

“Apparently, Jay felt like I was the best option he had at quarterback,” said Griffin, whom coach Jay Gruden chose as the starter in February after announcing following the season finale that there would be competition at the position. “I’m happy about that.”

Griffin said he is ready to lead the Redskins in the right direction, and to “create the culture change that we know that we need to have.”

“We look forward to (not having) that constant change anymore,” Griffin said. “It’s a mindset change; not accepting” mediocrity.

The Redskins soared from the NFC East cellar to the division title in 2012 as Griffin broke records and was voted the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year. But Washington has finished last in the division the past two seasons while Griffin has struggled since his knee surgery in January 2013.

“He’s doing fine,” Gruden said after the first practice of Washington’s organized team activities. “He’s just got to put practice after practice together and show the consistency that we’re looking for. Robert’s got a great work ethic. That’s never been a question.

“Robert’s a confident guy. . He’s (just) got to perform a little bit better. Playing in the same system for a second year, usually you have a little bit more confidence. You should show improvement, lots of improvement. We have high expectations for the quarterback position. I think Robert’s going to be fine.”

Griffin was anything but fine last season.

He dislocated his left ankle in Week 2, returned at midseason only to be benched after three losing starts before getting the job back in December after an injury to Colt McCoy. And there were questions about Griffin’s relationships with teammates and with Gruden.

“It’s been a couple of crazy years,” said Griffin, whose contract option for 2016 was picked up by the Redskins last month. “It shouldn’t be about who likes who, who doesn’t like who, and who said what. At the end of the day, what you do on the field matters. We haven’t been up to par the past couple years. I haven’t been up to par the past couple of my years. To have that consistency with the staff and the offense only helps.

“You got to be true to who you are. And right now, I’m a 25-year-old young man who can do a lot of different things.”

In his debut season, Griffin ran and passed with abandon, setting NFL records for passer rating by a rookie and yards rushing by a rookie quarterback. But the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials hurdler ran just 122 times the past two seasons, only twice more than he had as a rookie.

“I’m not going to limit myself to being just a drop-back passer, but if coach Gruden and (offensive coordinator) Sean McVay ask me to be a drop-back passer in any given situation, my job is to make sure that I can be,” Griffin said. “When you get into casting yourself into a certain role, you can limit yourself. As long as I’m able to be the athlete that I (am), it’s my job, my duty to make sure that I do it.”

Center Kory Lichtensteiger doesn’t believe Gruden’s announced trust in Griffin has affected the quarterback.

“Even if they told him he wasn’t starting, he believes it’s his job and he’s going to act like it’s his job no matter what,” Lichtensteiger said.

Griffin tweeted the news of daughter Reese Ann’s birth last Thursday, complete with a photo and her own hashtag.

“He woke up me at three in the morning with a text and photo after she was born,” tight end Niles Paul said. “That’s a different responsibility as a man and he looked good today.”

Notes: In addition to outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (knee surgery), tight end Jordan Reed (knee), offensive tackle Trent Williams, cornerback Tracy Porter (missed flights), and receiver DeSean Jackson were absent. … Cornerback DeAngelo Hall participated in individual drills for the first time since tearing his Achilles tendon in October.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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