NEW YORK -- Robert Griffin III has a fine line to walk.NFL rookies are usually seen and not heard. But quarterbacks are, by the nature of the position, the leaders of their teams. How is the 22-year-old Griffin going to go about taking the reigns of leadership for the Redskins?Like every other aspect of becoming an NFL quarterback, Griffin knows that it will take some time.Its a daily process, Griffin said about an hour after becoming the Redskins quarterback. Its not something where Ill go in Day One and theyll say, Hey, Robert, we believe in you, youre our guy. And some guys will be like that.But the Brian Orakpos and London Fletchers, the guys that are really staples of the Redskins team, I have to earn their trust, and I plan on doing that.Griffin plans on earning that trust by what he does, not by what he says.You come in and show the guys why they can trust in you, why they can believe in you, he said. Not just by saying hey, guys, you can trust me, you can believe in me.Why should they trust in you? Why should they believe in you? You have to go show them and not just say it. Because everybody can say something but not everybody can do it.Walking into a program, taking a leadership role, and reviving it is nothing new to Griffin. He went to Baylor, one of the laughingstocks of college football for many years. He started as a true freshman and helped turn that program around. Now he will take on doing the same for the Redskins, long an NFL punch line.Griffin believes that his Baylor experience prepared him for what he is about to face.Things in life build you up to other things, he said. Going to Baylor and then being able to succeed and help the program get back on its feet and even exceed what it had done in the past helps me do the same thing in Washington.But Griffin is not content with getting the Redskins back to where they were.Its not just about getting back to what the Redskins used to be its about trying to get better, he said.If Griffin can improve on the 10-year stretch the Redskins had from 1982-1991, when they won three Super Bowls and were perennially relevant in the NFL, most Redskins fans would be quite happy.
On paper, Jay Gruden's tenor with the Redskins is nothing to write home about. Through five seasons he holds a 35-44-1 record, good enough for a .444 winning percentage. Looking at that, some may draw the conclusion that Gruden hasn't been what the Redskins need at the helm.
But according to Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt, that's not exactly the case. Taking into account the variables Gruden has dealt with throughout the five years, Gantt actually sees him as a "really good" coach.
"I have always come down of the side, maybe, of guys who are doing more with less," Gantt said recently on a Redskins Talk Podcast. "I think Jay has done a pretty good job keeping things in the middle."
Doing more with less and working in the middle essentially defines Jay Gruden's career with the Redskins. Besides his opening year in 2014 in which Washington went 4-12, Gruden's teams have consistently finished right around the middle of the pack.
In the last four seasons, the Redskins have not won more than nine games, but they also haven't lost more than nine. Hovering right around .500, they've always been around league average.
Part of the reason Gantt is willing to give Gruden praise for records that some coaches would get scolded for revolves around what he's had to work with. Gruden's time as head coach has been filled with injuries and other dilemmas both on and off the field.
In those circumstances, it wouldn't be surprising to see a team completely flounder and spiral out of control. But, that hasn't really been the case with Gruden. Dealing with what he has, the head coach has kept the team competitive for the most part. The team hasn't been a perennial playoff contender, but it also hasn't been at the bottom of the league.
For that ability to keep the Redskins out of the basement despite all the problems he's encountered, Gruden is someone Gantt respects.
"They're able to keep it out of the ditches," Gantt said about Gruden and former NFL head coach John Fox, who Gantt followed during his time in Carolina.
"I think again in the NFL there's something to be said for that," Gantt added. "When things get sideways a Jim Zorn can lose control in a hurry. I feel like Jay just got sort of a steady hand on the wheel."
Until Gruden takes Washington back to the postseason, the critiques will continue to come, as they would for almost all head coaches in similar situations. But when looking at Gruden's time in Washington with a wide view of everything that has happened, Gantt believes the head coach deserves at least a little praise for keeping things afloat.
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When Carletha "Nana" West was growing up, she began to take an interest in football. In particular, she took notice of a certain Redskins quarterback.
"When Sammy Baugh was quarterback I liked him and I was just learning football at that time," West said. "I was young myself."
Baugh commanded the Redskins offense from 1937-1952 and became one of West's favorite player. With that, her fandom for the Redskins grew.
Decades later, her love for the Redskins remains. So for her 107th birthday -- yes, 107th -- she, of course, celebrated it with some Burgundy and Gold festivities.
Joined by Redskins GM Bruce Allen, West took in her birthday on Thursday, July 18, at Brandywine in Alexandria, Va. Not only was she given a customized Redskins jersey with the number 107 and the name "Nana", but West also got a day named after her. In Alexandria, July 18 will now be known as Carletha "Nana" West Day.
West spent some time reminiscing about her years as a Redskins fan, singing 'Hail to the Redskins' and even sharing her advice on how to live a long, fulfilling life. Besides loving football, she shared some simple words of wisdom.
"Make friends," West said. "And keep them."
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