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Jay Gruden said RG3 ‘mentally tough’ enough to bounce back for Redskins

Eric Edholm
Shutdown Corner

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Jay Gruden (USA Today Sports Images)

INDIANAPOLIS —New head coach Jay Gruden is putting the finishing touches on the Washington Redskins' playbook, and he will roll it out to quarterback Robert Griffin III and the rest of the offense when the team hits the April OTAs.

The good news, Gruden said Friday at the NFL scouting combine, is that Griffin can't wait to sink his teeth into it.

"He's excited to get the new playbook," Gruden said. "We can't give it out yet; we're still in the process of making that, and once the OTAs start, we are able to introduce it to him.

"I think the one thing about him, he's a very fiery competitor. He's a good, solid leader, and he's excited to get to work."

Gruden was hired, in part, to oversee the rebuilding of a fantastic prospect who hit the highest of highest in a transcendent rookie season in 2012 but also the depths of a brutal 2013 campaign in which RG3 came back too soon from torn knee ligaments, never really go on track and he and the Redskins limped to a 4-12 mark.

Adding insult to injury, the team now must watch another club — the St. Louis Rams — use its former No. 2 overall pick that would have been theirs for their poor performance. Except that pick was part of the pre-draft trade that eventually landed Griffin two years ago.

"He's only going to be in his third year," Gruden said of Griffin. "Last year was a tough year, a humbling year for a lot of people, especially him. He's eager to get back into shape, eager to work. He's got a great work ethic — I can already see that."

Gruden said he isn't worried about Griffin letting last season weigh too heavily on him and feels his quarterback, who turned 24 last week, has the resolve to move on confidently, even if not every young player could handle such a burden.

"It could be [difficult] for some guys if they are not mentally tough," Gruden said. "But the good thing about Robert is that he's a tough kid. He's going to let last year be a learning experience for him, and he's going to do everything in his power to not let it happen again.

"If you're a mentally tough kid, a physically tough kid like he is, he can have a bright future as long as he doesn't let it affect him in too negative or too positive a way. Just stay even-keeled, because there's not question about the talent he possesses."

Gruden also is banking on help from a run game anchored by Alfred Morris and Roy Helu to help ease the load on Griffin's shoulders.

“You don’t want to put too much on your quarterback ever,” Gruden said. “We’re going to do the best we can with our running game.”

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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