Seattle cornerback Shaquill Griffin admittedly played a bit selfishly last season. He overvalued statistics. He believed that big plays would define him rather than consistency. That mindset prevented him from performing at the high standards he has set for himself.
He's set out to reverse that narrative.
"Just focused on individual goals I felt like I put too much pressure, because if I didn't meet that, I felt like I was doing something wrong or that I wasn't good enough," Griffin told reporters following a voluntary offseason training workout. "So that pressure was all on myself and the mindset that I had. That's the mindset I had to change."
Now we're seeing the new and what Seattle hopes is an improved Griffin entering his third season in the NFL. He proclaimed to have matured. He's better focused, ready to take his game to another level, but in the right way. As a bonus, he's 12 pounds lighter, quicker and with more endurance. That is the product of more adult-like diet.
This is all good news for Seattle because, let's fact facts; Griffin did not perform well enough last season to justify letting Richard Sherman walk down I-5 to San Francisco. Griffin started the season well with two interceptions in a loss at Chicago during Week 2. Those were the only two offerings he would snag all season. His total passes defended declined from 15 as a rookie in 2017 to eight last season.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Griffin took a step back as an overall cover corner. In fact, the site rated last year's No. 3 corner Justin Coleman as the better overall coverage guy with a grade of 77.8 (19th among qualifying corners). Griffin received a grade of 50.7, down from 65.3 his rookie season. Coleman is now with Detroit while Griffin could be under a microscope in 2019.
Griffin is equally as harsh regarding his play. He gave himself a D grade for last season during a recent radio interview.
"I could give myself any type of grade," Griffin said following practice. "But the only way I can get better is if I'm hard on myself. Last year was just an average year. Being the No. 1 corner I can't have average years...I've got to be that guy. I've got to be more than just good. I've got to be great."
A change in mindset could help. Starting with the new diet, Griffin said he and his twin brother and roommate, linebacker Shaqeem Griffin - more on him later - hired a chef to provide them with healthy, pre-prepared meals in order to help the DB slim down and the LB to bulk up a bit.
Shaquill Griffin said he has greatly reduced the senseless eating of unhealthy foods. A new diet of more frequent but smaller meals that include chicken, fish and a reduction in carbohydrates, along with working out daily, has allowed Griffin to shed 12 pounds of excess weight while not losing muscle or strength.
"I'm feeling fast now," he said.
More importantly, now back down to his rookie weight of 194 pounds, Griffin said he has more endurance. At times last year weighed as much as 210 or 212 pounds, pretty hefty for a 6-foot corner. The added weight, he claimed, didn't impact his speed but it did hurt his ability to maintain his quickness throughout a game.
"I feel like I had my speed but it took so much out of me because I was carrying so much weight," Griffin said.
Now he hopes to be able to play an entire game at optimal abilities.
"My energy level continues to stay up so I can run a lot faster for a lot longer," he said.
His mental approach also had to change and that led him to the film room where he studied the 2013 season when the Seahawks, led by the famed Legion of Boom, won the Super Bowl. He marveled at how they they played together, celebrated together and demonstrated such confidence and bravado while achieving excellence.
"It's kind of cool to see the type of environment they created with each other," Griffin said.
He had other Seattle defensive backs download the video and watch it as well in hopes that it would become infectious and inspire the entire crew to raise it's level of play to at least come close to meeting the standards set by that championship crew, already gone from the roster six years later.
"It kind of opened people's eyes to the things that we want to be, the things that we want to get back to," Griffin said.
To help that happen Griffin has taken it upon himself to be more of a leader, and not just by example. He's being proactive and more vocal.
While Shaquill is trying to improve his play as a starter, his brother, a fifth-round pick last year, is trying to put himself in position to make an impact on defense.
According to Shaquill, his brother is trying to bulk up while not losing speed and is thoroughly enjoying getting an opportunity to do more of what he did in college at Central Florida, cover and rush the passer.
Shaquem excelled on special teams last year but didn't deliver when given an opportunity to start early in the season because of the absence of K.J. Wright. However, Shaquem was just a rookie then and not quite ready for that role. He, according to his bother, hopes to be better prepared this season.
"I think it's going to be a different year for him," Shaquill Griffin said.
That's the goal for both Griffin brothers.
"I want to be an elite player," Shaquill Griffin said. "I want to be one of the greats. But first I've got to become a better person before I can truly change my game."