Robert Griffin III has been a major story line in DC sports even before the Redskins actually drafted him, going back to last March's blockbuster trade that put Washington in position to take the Baylor quarterback with the second-overall pick. Through the draft and minicamps, training camps and preseason, and eventually the regular season, RGIII has been under the media microscope and seems wholly unfazed by the experience.
We like to think that he has more important things to worry about.
We don't, however. So in light of RGIII rushing for just four yards on two carries in last Sunday's win over the Eagles, we're left wondering if he'll be back to this running ways in the Week 17 finale against the Cowboys. For the season, Griffin has 752 rushing yards, a 53.7-yard per-game average.
It may not even matter if RGIII, who sprained his knee against the Ravens in Week 14, is completely healthy. He can beat you with his arm, too. We mentioned it Wednesday, but just ask the Cowboys; Griffin had four touchdowns, two on 49-yard-plus passes.
Turns out, there's nothing to worry about.
“The knee is fine." RGIII said Wednesday via RealRedskins.com. “Whatever I feel like I can do on that day, I will. [But] I’ll be able to do more against the Cowboys than I was against Philly.”
The news keeps getting better for the rookie quarterback:
Wednesday, along with the Packers' Aaron Rodgers and the Falcons' Matt Ryan. The pick drew some skepticism -- mostly from Seahawks fans (rookie QB Russell Wilson's had a solid year, too) -- but coach Mike Shanahan has the full confidence of his young quarterback.
“If you’re going to be compared to the greats, you’re going to have to win some big games,” Shanahan said according to the Washington Times. “I love the way Robert has handled himself since he’s been here. He doesn’t handle himself like a rookie. He handles himself like a veteran the way he prepares, the way he works, the intangibles, how important football is. That’s all the things that you look for in a quarterback. He has all those things.”
So while Griffin hasn't yet gone through the full gamut of high-pressure NFL experiences, he's appeared unfazed through 16 weeks this season. His secret comes down to three words he brought with him from Baylor: "Don't freak out."
Simple enough, but let's be honest: This advice ain't helping Rex Grossman or John Beck. You can not freak out all you want, but if you don't have that franchise QB gene, all it means is that you'll calmly get your butt kicked. Griffin's different, of course.
“Whenever you play the moment up too much, it can become too big to seize the moment," he said. “You just want to make sure you don’t make something so big that you can’t grab a hold of it.”
If the first four months of the season are any guide, RGIII and the Redskins will be fine with the Cowboys come to FedEx Field Sunday.