RICHMOND, Va. (CBSDC) — Call this Camp No Drama. The Redskins had more than enough of that last season as their coach and starting quarterback never appeared to be on the same page and that edgy relationship filtered through the rest of the squad.
This year’s training camp in Richmond? The big news through the first eight days was Washington cutting a fifth-round linebacker from 2013 and an offensive lineman who hasn’t played in a game since 2011 passing a physical. ESPN isn’t exactly going live to every Redskins’ training camp practice this time around. That’s fine with a team trying it’s best to forget an awful 2013.
“I don’t like controversy, honestly,” running back Alfred Morris said. “I’m glad it’s gone and I’m glad it’s behind us and hopefully it stays there. I hope none of this stuff resurfaces. It definitely can be a distraction if you allow it to be a distraction, but me personally I block all that stuff out.”
Much of that, of course, was the drama over quarterback Robert Griffin III, whether he’d be ready to play at the start of last season after major knee surgery in January; whether his relationship with Mike and Kyle Shanahan was stable; whether his performance was good enough for him to play even if was medically cleared to do so.
Griffin himself over all that and thankful for a fresh start. He’s even talking to the media on the field after every practice, which hasn’t lessened the attention on him, but has at least ensured that when he talks it’s no longer an event on par with a President Obama news conference. He, too, is learning, finally, how to diffuse the drama before it spirals out of control.
“No, man, I’ve learned I can’t say anything about Jay without it being twisted or turned so I’m just not gonna go down that road anymore,” Griffin said. “We’re happy that [Gruden is] our head coach, he’s our leader and I’m gonna follow him.”
That was a noble goal, but Griffin hasn’t always hewed to it. He was asked Wednesday about GM Bruce Allen’s comments on ESPN Radio – 950 (Richmond), when he said that Griffin starting the season was “was almost a little disrespectful to the game of football.” He never mentioned Shanahan by name, but the implication was there.
“I saw what Bruce said and I know where he’s coming from,” Griffin said. “That was the previous coaches’ prerogative. I can’t really do anything about that. All you can do is fly with the punches. I’ve said it multiple times, I played the hand that I was dealt last year and now we’re all ready to move on and move forward this year with this year, a new regime.”
Whatever the case, that back-and-forth is gone now. The focus is on what’s happening in the field. And that’s a decidedly good thing for a team hoping to put a 3-13 campaign behind it. That humbling experience alone has kept players from making waves in this camp. Distraction can arise at any time. For now, it’s a non-issue.
“It’s not hard trying to get players to buy in coming off a 3-13 season,” offensive lineman Trent Williams said. “We don’t have a lot of room to NOT buy in. Players have bought in, the coaches have done a great job getting with players and getting kinks ironed out. We look forward to doing some good things this season.”
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