By Jennifer X. Williams
Robert Griffin III may be the face of the Redskins, but London Fletcher is and remains the backbone of the team.
Washington linebacker, Ryan Kerrigan, recently said of Fletcher, 'He teaches you how to be a man.' As the player in charge of delivering words of motivation to his team, it's safe to say the NFL vet's words are valued amongst his peers.
At the start of training camp, Fletcher spoke to the media. The inside linebacker has seen a lot of quarterbacks in his fifteen years in the NFL, and when discussing RGIII, he was compelled to mention Michael Vick's name twice.
First when discussing why Griffin will be difficult to defend:
“When you have a quarterback who can make plays off-schedule, when it doesn’t go exactly as it was designed to go, a quarterback who can buy time, has a threat to run the football, make plays outside the pocket, defensively, you’re kind of always on your heels because you don’t know if he’s going to run the ball. Is he going to keep it or throw it? You see stuff like that, especially with guys like Michael Vick now, the [quarterback] with Philadelphia, outside the pocket. You don’t know if he’s going to run the football or continue to look down field and sometimes throw the ball as well. With Robert, he’ll be able to do a lot of those things as well.”
And then how Griffin will be in the heads of opposing defenses (yes, just like in the commercial):
“I just think about Michael Vick when he was in Atlanta, and I was playing against him in St. Louis, and the type of speed and athleticism that the guy brought to the position and obviously his ability to throw the football. Those things you can’t really prepare for until you get out and face it, until you realize exactly the talent that this guy has.”
Vick recently endorsed the comparisons, saying, "I think guys like RG3 idolized me as they grew up playing football. I think Cam and Robert Griffin III both were inspired by me and my play. And that's me being a trend setter, game transcending, and guys wanting to emulate one another. ... And I think that's what it's all about. I wanted to emulate Steve Young and be just like him, and Charlie Ward, and Randall Cunningham, guys who played before me."
As for RGIII? Griffin was humbled to hear Vick speak at the Rookie Symposium in June and noted one of the reasons why he looks up to Vick is because of the way he has turned things around in Philadelphia. Something RG3 will be called upon to do in Washington.
However, Robert isn't making any comparisons in terms of ability between himself and the signal caller of a divisional foe.
But when asked at the start of training camp about which part of his game will translate well, Griffin said his ability to lead and also mentioned the quarterback the Redskins will face in Griffin's first game of his NFL career.
“Don’t let anybody tell you that you’re game doesn’t translate. They might have told [New Orleans Saints running back] Darren Sproles that, and look what he’s doing now. The same goes for [Saints quarterback] Drew Brees. I just try to make sure I don’t listen to too much and hear people say, ‘His game doesn’t translate.’ [I] just go out and play and show people – not show them up – just show them it doesn’t matter who you are, how tall you are, how big you are, how fast you are. You can play in the NFL if you really go out and take care of business.”