Before making his first career start Sunday in New Orleans, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III said hell go through his typical routine, his headphones playing the usual soothing tunes.
Its in my music selection at the beginning of the game, Griffin said, when asked how he maintains the calm demeanor his veteran teammates praised him for during the preseason. I try to stay cool and calm and collected. I throw a little Michael Jackson in there to spice it up. Other than that, clear your mind and not think about too much.
It would be easy for a 22-year-old rookie to get whipped into a frenzy by the moment and the manic crowd at Superdome. But nothing thats transpired this preseason would suggest Griffin will struggle to control his nerves.
On Wednesday, he explained why that is.
Calm and cool hasnt always been Griffins method of operation on game days. From high school through the early part of his sophomore season at Baylor, Griffin skewed the other way during his pregame preparation.
I tried to get a little to, as they say in college, crunk, Griffin said. I just didnt play well for about three games as a sophomore at Baylor doing that getting crunk stuff. Its not who I am.
So I just try to stay cool calm and collected and dont worry about what other guys do, he continued. Everyone has a different way of getting ready and that just happens to be my way.
In addition to his low-key warm up, Griffin said theres another reason he rarely panics in big moments: his exhaustive preparation.
You try to prepare for every detail, he said. Worry is a bad word. You try not to worry about things. You just prepare for them. Coach told me make sure my mind is clear. Dont try to make the game harder than it really is.
Griffin did acknowledge that his blood pressure will rise at various points during Sundays game. But he also said he knows its up to him to suppress those emotions on the sideline and especially in the huddle, where 10 other players will be looking to him to set the tone.
Everybody gets nervous. Everyone gets antsy, anxious, he said. Any word you want to put on that. But you want to stay calm. I have to stay calm. I cant go in there and stumble over my words. Try to make sure I keep an even keel.