Robert Griffin III’s ability to make a play in the clutch is apparent. What’s not so obvious, though, is the subtle impact the ebullient rookie has made behind the scenes at Redskins Park.
On the practice field. In the classroom. The weight room, too.
And particularly after a tough loss (or two).
“So far, just working with him for a year, Robert has been the same every Monday,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said when asked how Griffin, 22, keeps his teammates' "chins up" in difficult times.
“Whether he’s been good or bad,” Shanahan continued, “whether we’ve won or lost, he comes in upbeat and eager to get better.”
Griffin’s enthusiasm, coaches and players said, is infectious.
“It’s important because after a loss you’re just trying to move on,” running back Evan Royster said. “You need to get ready for the week to come and you can’t change the past. That’s just who he is: Robert’s a happy person. It brings out the best in everybody."
Added Coach Mike Shanahan: "He's an upbeat guy. He looks at the positive and he's tough on himself at the same time. His disposition is very good."
Griffin’s positive attitude has been especially important in recent days given the team's struggles.
Two weeks ago, a defensive lapse in the final moments led to a gut-wrenching loss to the Giants. Last Sunday, Redskins receivers dropped 10 of his 34 pass attempts in a disheartening 27-12 loss in Pittsburgh.
If ever there were a time for Griffin to brood and sulk, this week would have been it. Instead, he arrived in Ashburn on Monday morning to begin preparing for this week's pivotal game against the Panthers in a familiar frame of mind.
“You need that from your quarterback,” Shanahan said. “When you have guys in those roles and they’re really down and moping around it definitely affects the whole team. It’s important on any NFL team to have big players in key positions, especially the quarterback, act that way.”