Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III has a supporter in his former college coach Art Briles. On ESPN’s “First Take,” the Baylor coach was asked to explain how his former pupil had gone from winning the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year award to potentially fighting for his job in the span of two years.
Briles, who recently had lunch with Griffin in Waco, Tex., compared the people trying to take Griffin down to teams taking great pride in knocking off defending champions.
“I love where his (Griffin) attitude is right now,” Briles said. “His mind was as good — and his spirit — as I’ve seen it in two years. He’s not a broken man. You can get broken at that position. He’s not that way. He’s powerful, he’s strong, he’s one of the best competitors that I’ve ever been around and he’s got athletic ability to back it up. So, I think the future’s bright. It’s not a three-year, four-year span, it’s a 10-year span. Let’s judge him after 10 years.”
Griffin said he has leaned on his Christian faith to offset the negativity that has come his way after a season Redskin fans would like to forget.
“God has a purpose and a plan,” Griffin said. “It’s my job to praise Him and not listen to what people are saying. My team is my family. They know I’m working hard.”
Briles said that much of what Griffin says is misunderstood or misinterpreted. He also brushed aside the notice that Griffin has failed to galvanize his teammates.
“They know in the locker room how he’ll fight to win,” Briles said. “And that was one of the things I told him coming out, I said, ‘Robert, you’re looking at a 10-year window.’ I know how he competes. I know how he’ll try to make the play in the preseason game, and you can’t do that in the league, because it’s all about longevity. And that’s what you gotta do, you gotta stay healthy. He’ll sacrifice his body for the opportunity to win, and that’s what I love about him more than anything else, is that he will compete for the guys in that locker room, he’ll compete for the game. … All that other stuff can be interpreted however you want to interpret it. Because it’s like I tell my coaches when we’re watching tape and evaluating players, you can see what you want to see, you can hear what you want to hear. You’re going to make the evaluation that you want to make based on how you feel about that situation, and I say, let facts speak. Let facts speak.”
“To me, it’s all about an organization saying this is our guy, having confidence in that guy,” Briles said. “I mean, he did win them a division title. He was the rookie of the year. I don’t know how many division titles Washington has won in the last 20 years, but I think it’s one (it’s two) and I think Robert was the guy that did it when they won it. So, to me, you look at other organizations and franchises across the nation that have stuck with quarterbacks and saying ‘this is our guy,’ when maybe they haven’t won at the level Robert did win at, but they committed to that guy and said he’s going to take us there. And so what you do is structure the scheme around the person…that’s going to lead your franchise. You don’t always have him adapt to what you want to do; adapt to what his abilities are.”
“They have to have faith in him,” Briles concluded. “The key for the Redskins is to do what Griffin does best.”
In Washington, it appears faith is going to have to be a two-way street.