ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — Like the countless coaches, players and analysts, Rex Grossman believes Robert Griffin III has the natural ability to play the game.
It’s not just the Washington Redskins rookie’s athletic ability, it’s the intangibles.
Barring a catastrophe, Grossman will not be the starting quarterback this season. He’s now backing up the most heralded player in recent Washington history. All of the accolades come despite the fact Griffin is yet to take a snap in an NFL game.
When Grossman re-signed with the team in March he knew the team would very well select Griffin or Andrew Luck with the second overall pick in the draft. A pick that high certainly garnered strong consideration to be an immediate starter, which Mike Shanahan confirmed to indeed be the case early in the offseason.
Grossman, who is entering his 10th NFL season, is handling the situation with humility and hopes to have an opportunity to take the reins once again.
“If you’re a competitor you want to be the guy,” Grossman said Thursday at Redskins Park. “You want to be the starter and you want to play. That’s not in the cards for us, but your mindset doesn’t change.”
Although he has an eye on overtaking the Heisman Trophy winner as the Redskins starter, Grossman and Griffin actually have a good relationship both on and off the field. It could be one built on their mutually competitive nature.
“Anytime you’re in a situation where there’s an obvious starter, you know your role,” he explained. “But that doesn’t mean you’re not competitive. We have a great relationship though. He’s a good guy. he’s funny, he’s smart, he gets it. . . we joke around a lot, but he’s a competitor and intense about it when it comes to football.”
Grossman is the most proven quarterback currently on the Redskins roster. With nine seasons under his belt, including a trip to Super Bowl XLI with the Chicago Bears, he has the credentials to evaluate talent.
He was quick to heap praise on the 22-year-old ahead of him on the depth chart, particularly his instincts.
“You have to have that innate natural ability to play the game like you would in your backyard,” said Grossman. “Everything is not exactly perfect all of the time.”
(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)