Robert Griffin III dropped back and launched passes during the Washington Redskins non-contact practice Thursday, the latest sign of progress from the second-year phenom who said his goals include being ready for training camp and starting the season opener.
So focused is Griffin that he's changed account passwords as an ever-present reminder of the Sept. 9 "Monday Night Football" date with the Philadelphia Eagles. Driven as he might be, there is a mental hurdle to overcome for athletes rebounding from serious injuries. Griffin has a been-there, done-that approach, having come back from a previous ACL surgery to win the Heisman Trophy as a junior at Baylor.
"The knee feels great," Griffin said in his first wide-ranging interview since doing jumping jacks on stage to a roaring ovation at the Redskins' draft day party three weeks ago. "I'm able to do all the stuff out there without any hesitation, so that's the best part about it. I'm excited about that. It's all about having that confidence, and if you put the work in, you'll have that confidence when you get back out there on the field. It's about playing like you were never injured."
Griffin is recovering from reconstructive knee surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews in January. He responded Thursday to comments made by his father, Robert Griffin Jr., that he hoped the offense would be adjusted to keep RG3 in the pocket with more passing. That, said Griffin Jr., would temper the number of hits he takes -- ideally reducing his risk of injury -- as a ball carrier. He called for coaches to create "a united community."
Griffin III smiled and said he doesn't have his parents "on a leash" when asked about the statement. The exciting quarterback set rookie records for passer rating (102.4) and rushing yards (815) by a quarterback in 2012, when he averaged 6.8 yards per carry with seven touchdowns.
Coach Mike Shanahan said any evolution of the offense or significant adjustments aren't planned and would most likely be based on what they see from opposing defenses in 2013. Shanahan and Griffin III have talked about the pace of the quarterback's rehab, and how "limited" Griffin would be during on-field drills this month and into training camp.
"There's two phases left -- explosive sprinting and cutting," Griffin said, adding that he expects to be in sprint groups with his teammates sometime in June and cutting two weeks later. "Those are the only two things left. Being at four and a half months out (from surgery), I'm a little bit ahead. My goal ... is to be out there for training camp."