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Griffin III Revisits Start Of His NFL Career

Posted Apr 17, 2013

Redskins QB Robert Griffin III opens up in an exclusive Redskins.comTV interview, recapping the ups and downs of his first four games in the NFL.

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III enjoyed historical success in his first season in the NFL, rewriting both the franchise and NFL record books along the way.

With each new benchmark he set, Griffin III assured the media and fans that he was enjoying his first season in the moment, but would wait until after the season to let it sink in.

In the first installment of a 10-part series with Larry Michael of Redskins Nation, Griffin III recapped the start of his career, which began with a bang in New Orleans against the Saints.

Looking back on his NFL debut, on the road in his parents’ hometown, Griffin III said his only discomfort was wishing to get his NFL career started.

“Not too many butterflies.  It was just more anxious to get out there and play the game I love,” he said. “Everyone talks about being in the NFL and the speed of the game, but when you get out there it was just a lot of fun.

“It was just a good feeling to play in front of, really, a hometown crowd and get a win.”

Griffin III put on a clinic that afternoon, throwing 19-for-26 for 320 yards and the first two touchdowns of his career. He also rushed nine times for 42 yards, completing the best statistical debut of any quarterback in NFL history.

Redskins fans showed up in force at the Superdome, but were joined by Saints fans in chanting ‘R-G-3’ as the Redskins won, 40-32.

“It was good. That was really humbling,” Griffin III said of the chants. “You don’t go anywhere and say, ‘I want to make the opposing team chant my name.’ I don’t think there’s anything cool about that, there’s nothing humble about that.

“You appreciate it when the opposing team’s fans or the Redskins fans that were there are chanting your name because you played so well.”

The Redskins were riding high after their Week 1 victory, and went back on the road to St. Louis in Week 2.

“We wanted to get on a roll, and we came out of the Saints game feeling good,” Robert Griffin III recalled. “But also at the same time, everybody made sure we weren’t complacent or anything like that.

“We knew having those two road games [to start the season] was going to be tough and we felt like we would come out on top.”

The Redskins got off to another quick start in the game, rolling to a 14-3 lead after the first quarter and a 21-16 lead at the half.

Unfortunately, the Redskins would manage just one touchdown in the second half, as the Rams brought intense physicality before, during and after the whistle.

“We put everything we had into it and unfortunately we didn’t come out on top,” Griffin III said of the 28-31 loss. “I think it was a learning experience—not only for myself with the first loss in the NFL—but also for the team.

“[It was important] to realize that we have to make sure that even if the slightest thing goes under the radar, you’ve got to make sure you bring it up and don’t get complacent.”

Griffin III had his FedExField regular season debut the following week against the Cincinnati Bengals. Although the Redskins were outmatched 31-38, he said the fan support was top-notch.

“It was amazing. The hometown crowd definitely gives you a little bit more energy, and that’s how it’s supposed to be,” he said. “Home is home, and you’re supposed to protect your home turf.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t get that first win in my first home game, but I think we made that pay off later in the year.”

The following week, the Redskins traveled to Tampa Bay for their third road game in four weeks.

Starting strong safety Brandon Meriweather had been cleared for contact that week in practice, and felt strong his knee that he injured in Week 3 of the preseason.

A miscommunication during warmups saw Meriweather cross paths with receiver Aldrick Robinson, as Meriweather’s injured knee collided with Robinson’s head, leaving both on the ground.

“At the time it was a major scramble to figure out what we were going to do, losing two key players like that,” Griffin III said, as both players were deactivated from action. “You’re never promised a game in the NFL, and a lot of guys realize that but I don’t think the fans do.

“The collision at the beginning of the game, it was really scary and it can come out of nowhere.”

The Redskins once again got out to an early lead, but three missed field goals by kicker Billy Cundiff left the Redskins with a 21-22 deficit in the final minutes of the game.

Robert Griffin III took over in his first two-minute drill, completing three straight passes and a long rush that put his team back in field goal range. This time, the kick went through for the game-winner.

“With the way it happened coming back in a two-minute situation, it was a lot of fun,” Griffin III said with a smile. “We were able to show that we can step up. We stepped up for [Meriweather and Robinson] and we got the win.”

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