Robert Griffin III hasn’t been through the five-year playoff drought, the back-to-back-to-back-to-back sub .500 seasons, the years of meaningless football in December.
But he understands what it’s been like around Redskins Park for longtime veterans like Lorenzo Alexander, Santana Moss, Kedric Golston, Chris Cooley and London Fletcher. The rookie not only empathizes with his elders, he said Wednesday that he’s inspired to perform well for them.
“You can definitely sense it,” Griffin said. “Late in the game against the Cowboys, London came up and talked to me. He usually never talks to me during the game. You can feel the excitement they have about what we have brewing here.”
When the Redskins (5-6) host the Giants (7-4) in a pivotal NFC East matchup on Monday Night Football, Griffin and Co. can take another step toward the team’s first playoff berth since 2007. In fact, the game surely is the most important home contest this late in the season since they defeated the Cowboys on Dec. 30 five years ago to clinch a trip to the playoffs.
Since then, the Redskins haven't come close to earning a postseason berth. Now they've got a chance, albeit a slim one. And veterans like Fletcher are sensing the rare opportunity.
“You want to do it for them,” said Griffin, who was named the NFL's offensive rookie of the month for the second time on Thursday. “When I was in college, I wanted to do it for the seniors when I was a freshman. Now that I’m a rookie, you want to do it for those vets.”
The vets, meantime, appreciate what Griffin is doing for them -- something he found out when Fletcher, the team’s 37-year-old defensive captain, approached him on the sidelines at Cowboys Stadium.
“After the drive where Kai [Forbath] kicked the field goal, [Fletcher] said that it was a big drive," Griffin said. "He was just telling me that’s what we have to do, no matter what.”