RG III gives assist to Jay Gruden

ByJohn Keim ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 3, 2014

ASHBURN, Va. -- His new coach mentioned it in the spring: wanting Robert Griffin III to worry less about others' opinions.

Griffin fed into that on occasion via Twitter, taking offense by perceived doubts. But the quarterback is adamant he's not trying to be beloved.

"Trust me, I'm not worried about anyone liking me," Griffin said Wednesday.

He said he's learned that no one is universally beloved in the NFL.

As the Redskins open the season at Houston on Sunday, Griffin remains at the center of their success -- or failure. But he insists he's more concerned with his own performance than how he's perceived.

However, last month, he also tweeted about how he wanted people to keep doubting him.

During the offseason, coach Jay Gruden said of Griffin, "He wants everyone to love Robert."

Griffin, though, said that's not the case. It's also something he came to realize.

"I know where Jay is coming from when he says those things," Griffin said. "I learned not everyone is going to like you. That's the nature of the business, that's the nature of human beings. There are people in this room that don't like me. You just have to move on from that stuff. Jay being here has helped me grow. My family has helped me grow. ... Those things come with the territory."

Griffin is coming off a tough season in which his stats were modest (16 touchdown passes, 12 interceptions) but were nothing like those of his dynamic rookie season. A big part of that was the lack of an offseason after knee surgery.

He also had a tension-filled relationship with former coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Gruden said Griffin has grown since the offseason in terms of not trying to earn everyone's praise.

"He hit that rocky spot last year and kind of realized that people will turn on him," Gruden said. "That's just the nature of the business. Just take the good with the bad. The most important thing I tell the quarterback is you have to be mentally tough and you have got to handle adversity. He's done a great job of that. It's a tough pill for him to swallow, but he swallowed it and he moved forward."

Gruden said when a player learns that lesson, he can focus on more important details, like his job.

"He stays focused on his job and his job only," Gruden said. "He just wants to worry about his job, making himself better, a better player, worried about his progressions, his pass protection responsibilities, his run game responsibility. Just worry about playing the position ... and not worry about anything else in the outside world."

Griffin wants to return to the career arc he was on after 2012. But when asked whether he said he has anything to prove, Griffin said, "Nothing."

"I do this for my teammates," he said. "I do this for my family, for my organization. We don't have anything to prove to anybody out there. All we have to do is go out and be the team we know we can be. If you want to say we have a lot to prove to ourselves within this building ... it's about all of us going out and being successful. Like I said many times this offseason, they go as I go. If I play well, we play well. If I don't play well, we don't play well."

Griffin also isn't worried that the first-team offense failed to produce a touchdown in parts of three preseason games. He does not share any angst about the offense or even the team.

"Our job is to ignore the noise, to stay focused," Griffin said. "It's not to prove anyone wrong; it's for us to be successful."

Related Video