RG III set for more work, but no fan of plan

RICHMOND, Va. — The plan shifted once again, albeit by only a day.

Early Monday, Robert Griffin III thought he’d be returning to full-team work by Tuesday. Instead, it will now happen Wednesday thanks to a change in Tuesday’s schedule.

Regardless, Griffin will return to full-team work this week for the first time in training camp. He will once again be limited to 7-on-7 work along with running the first unit during the morning walk-through.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Griffin will take a “couple reps” in the team portion of practice Wednesday through Friday. But that Tuesday will be the same as Monday as they conduct a morning walk-through and afternoon practice — originally one session was scheduled. Shanahan altered the practice schedule because Saturday’s session was canceled because of a thunderstorm.

Earlier in the day Griffin said the plan was for him to get more full-team work, though he’ll be limited to facing the scout team, a team official told ESPN, as Washington continues to do its best to protect its quarterback from getting hit. But it still represents one more step in what is a shared goal by both Griffin and Shanahan: to play in the season opener vs. Philadelphia.

“Without a setback we believe he will be ready for the first game,” Shanahan said. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there will be no setback and we’ll have him for the first game of the season, but if there is a setback we will adjust accordingly.”

Griffin said taking more reps in full-team drills isn’t necessarily a huge step.

“I just think it’s time to get back out there with my teammates,” he said. “You’ll get to see me play football, not just do 7-on-7.”

Griffin said all along he’s known what Shanahan’s plan was for him. That doesn’t mean he’s agreed with the plan or even liked it — Griffin clearly was antsy to return when talking to the media a week ago.

He said he doesn’t understand the entire plan.

“I can’t BS that answer,” he said. “No, I don’t like it. I don’t understand all of it. But [Shanahan] gave me his word. … When you give your word to somebody that’s all they have so I’m just banking that they will stay true to their word and I’m staying true to mine. I’m doing everything they ask me to do without any gripes.”

Griffin said he doesn’t understand why they’re sticking to a plan regardless of how he feels.

“That’s the part I don’t understand,” he said. “My re-integration to the team has been fixed without any aspect of how I’m doing personally with my knee surgery and with my knee rehab. It’s predetermined. That’s the one thing I don’t understand. What coach says, and he’s 100 percent right, I don’t have to understand it. I don’t have to like it. If he plays me Week 1 and I’m ready to go then I’ll give him a salute and I’ll play my butt off for him.”

Later Monday, Griffin took to Twitter to clarify his comments from earlier in the day.

Shanahan isn’t bothered by Griffin’s reaction to taking it slow. In fact, Shanahan seems to prefer Griffin being antsy.

“My job is to make sure he’s ready,” Shanahan said. “I could [have brought] Robert back three weeks ago and something happens to the ACL and we’re saying maybe you should have waited an extra week or two. I know when the first game is. … I like competitors. I like people that want to go. The great ones want to practice, they want to play. Robert does petition you guys. I like it. It’s good.

“I don’t want to push him when we don’t have to. I like where he’s at, he’s making strides.”

Griffin has simulated being in the pocket in individual work while others performed special-teams drills, dropping back, cutting, twisting and throwing on the run. But returning to full-team drills will provide him a chance to throw with rushers coming at him — knowing they will pull up before reaching him — and get used to more live action.

“I’m damn near close to 100 percent,” Griffin said. “I feel good and now I’m glad that Coach feels the same way.”

Shanahan rejected Griffin’s request to play in the third preseason game vs. Buffalo. Griffin had hoped Shanahan would change his mind, but the coach was adamant that he would not play in the preseason. Shanahan said Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgery, requested that Griffin not play in the preseason.

Regardless, one thing hasn’t changed in his mind.

“There’s no doubt I’m playing Week 1,” he said.

“My plan is to play him Week 1,” Shanahan said. “I want to play him Week 1, but if there’s a setback we might not be able to play him Week 1, maybe not until Week 5 or 6. I’m hoping there’s no setback. If there isn’t, I think we have a good game plan.”

Griffin has always felt he would be ready to play in the opener since coming out of the Jan. 9 surgery. But the next step is full-team work. He ran the first offense in Monday morning’s walk-through.

“I just like to see the look on the guys’ faces when I step in the huddle,” he said. “They laughed and joked about it, but I think they are happy to have me back out there. I’ve been ready for this.”

Griffin, as is well-known, went through this at Baylor, which helped prepare him for the road he traveled this time. That’s why he’s not worried about how his knee will respond or what it will feel like to get hit for the first time in a game. And if he doesn’t play in the preseason he knows he can still handle this scenario during a real game.

“I don’t think the mental aspect is the problem,” Griffin said. “In college we didn’t have preseason games and I played the first game of the year. You get all the jitters out then. But it’s more anxiousness, not nervousness about the knee. It’s about getting back out there. Everyone will remember your first hit when you come back from the injury. What happens is you get up and tap the guy on the shoulder and say good job and move on. That will happen Week 1. But I don’t have any anxiety about that at all. I’m just ready to go.”

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter contributed to this report.

This article was originally posted on ESPN.com

About Neil Farris

I have been covering sports since 2002 when I began writing for my college newspaper. Since then I have covered football regionally and currently work in the NFL department at All Sports Talk.