RG III Goes to School of Belichick: ‘Focused on 49ers’
Robert Griffin III used the exact phrase "focused on San Francisco" nine times. He's also said he's "preparing for San Francisco" and that he and his teammates "want to get a win against San Francisco."
After spending a few days under siege on multiple fronts - including from coach Jay Gruden - about his recent choice of words, the Washington Redskins quarterback on Wednesday turned in a performance that would make Bill Belichick proud. As the New England Patriots coach is known to do, Griffin gave short, non-answers. An occasional smile was the only reminder of the expressive RG3 that all had come to know.
"Jay wants me to play better. I want to play better," Griffin said. "We're focused on San Francisco and making that happen, so that's all I've got to say about that."
And so it went.
At one point, Griffin was asked, in light of his flawed outing in a 20-point loss to Tampa Bay, whether he was doing anything different to prepare this week other than saying "focused on San Francisco" over and over.
"Just preparing for San Francisco, man," Griffin answered. "That's all I can do."
Griffin was stung earlier this week by the implication that he had been overly critical of his teammates in his postgame remarks after the Buccaneers loss. In reality, Griffin spent much of that postgame news conference taking the blame for his six sacks and other aspects of his play, but he did add that "great quarterbacks" such as Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning "don't play well if their guys don't play well."
On Monday, Gruden piled on a bit, saying that: "Robert needs to understand he needs to worry about himself, No. 1, and not everybody else." The coach also went into detail about Griffin's "fundamental flaws," including poor footwork, bad reads and an interception caused by locking in on a receiver too quickly.
Griffin responded that same day on social media that it's "unfortunate that anyone would take a piece of my press conference and say I threw my teammates under the bus."
On Wednesday, as the Redskins (3-7) began practicing for Sunday's game against the 49ers, Griffin simply opted to play mum, except for a detail here or there.
On getting better as a quarterback, he said: "I'm in my second offense in this league. You know, just trying to hammer everything down and get better at my craft like Coach wants me to."
Griffin said that he addressed the team on Monday, that everyone is "on the same page" and that a "large majority of the locker room" has reached out to him in the last few days. He also spoke of leaning on God, his family and teammates and ignoring distractions.
Griffin said several times that he was doing what Gruden wants him to do, but he said his scaled-back appearance at the podium wasn't specifically the result of coach's orders.
"No, he just wanted me to focus on me," Griffin said. "And I'm going to do that to the best of my ability. I'm a quarterback, man. I've got to help this team win."
Griffin's clashes with coach Mike Shanahan overshadowed last year's 3-13 season. Asked to describe his relationship with Gruden, Griffin gave another short answer.
"Great," he said.
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