RG III: Things 'great' with Gruden

ByJohn Keim ESPN logo
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, chastised by coach Jay Gruden two days ago for his fundamentals and worrying too much about others, took the opposite approach Wednesday.

He said almost nothing.

During a news conference that lasted 7 minutes, 30 seconds -- and 24 questions -- Griffin said he was "focused on San Francisco" nine times and used the word "focused" 18 times overall, whether referring to himself or his team.

"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."

During his news conference following Sunday's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Griffin spoke for a while about how poorly he played and how he had to improve. But toward the end, Griffin added: "If you want to look at the good teams in this league and the great quarterbacks, the Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Mannings, those guys don't play well if their guys don't play well. I need every guy in that locker room, and I know they are looking at me saying the same thing."

It was interpreted by some as casting blame on his teammates.

Gruden said Monday that he didn't have a problem with most of what Griffin said but that he did not like the quarterback talking about anyone's job other than his own.

"It's his job to worry about his position, his footwork, his fundamentals, his reads, his progressions, his job at the quarterback position," Gruden said. "It's my job to worry about everybody else. And yes, everybody else needs to improve. There's no question about it. But it's not his place. His place is to talk about himself, and he knows that. He just elaborated a little bit too much."

Gruden then picked apart Griffin's game in the Tampa Bay loss, criticizing his fundamentals. Gruden noted later that whatever he said in his news conference were comments he already had delivered to Griffin.

And Griffin said Wednesday that his relationship with Gruden is "great."

"My job is to focus on what I can focus on and what I can control," Griffin said. "So Jay wants me to play better. I'm just focused on getting better at my craft. I'm not worried about anything else."

That includes commenting on what others say. Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, during a radio interview with The Michael Kay Show on ESPN 98.7 FM, said he had heard from previous coaches of Griffin that he needed to put more time into studying. Young played for former Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who coached Griffin in 2012 and '13.

"I'm focused on San Francisco, man, and not letting anything on the outside distract us from that," Griffin said. "We have to take care of what we have to take care of. We've got enough to worry about here."

Griffin addressed the team in a Monday meeting, clearing up what he meant by his postgame comments. He also said many teammates have supported him.

"You've got to talk to them, but a large majority of the locker room has come to me and talked to me and that's great," he said. "We're all focused on the same thing, winning, staying together and beating San Francisco."

Griffin has been mostly an open book during his three seasons in Washington, providing depth and honesty in his answers. But his approach Wednesday was to provide nothing that could be turned into a headline, creating more drama at Redskins Park. He was asked if he thought about saying less to avoid controversy and answered with another "focused on San Francisco."

"It is what it is," Griffin said. "You get what you ask for, so I'm focused on San Francisco. Jay wants me to focus on San Francisco. That's what I'm going to do."

He also said he didn't want to use Wednesday's platform to clear up anything he said, adding that he wrote what he needed to on social media. On Monday, the QB tweeted: "I would never throw my teammates under the bus! I take responsibility for my play & will play better. #HTTR."

"There's no point saying it again here and bringing it back up," Griffin said Wednesday. "I said what I had to say. I addressed it with the team, and we're all on the same page."

Griffin said Gruden made no requests of him regarding the media, which led, of course, to him saying again that he was focused on himself -- and that he's confident he and the team will play better Sunday.

"I have extreme confidence that's going to happen," Griffin said. "That's our only focus. We're not going to act like a 3-7 team. We'll go out there and push forward and push to the future.

"I'm the quarterback. I have to help this team win."

Related Video