Cooley on Griffin III: "He's healthy. He's really healthy."
by Chris Russell
Mar 26, 2014 -- 4:20pm



Robert Griffin III went through a season that nobody would ever want to endure in 2013. There was a suffocating cloud of controversy everywhere you looked.

You felt it. We all knew it. It never went away. It had a powerful grasp that was slowly lowered, before choking the life out of the 2013 season with a unimaginable (3-13) mark and Mike Shanahan fired after four years.

Shanahan might have been able to survive, if he didn't wage a football war with Griffin III and his family. Obviously, mistakes were made on both sides. The difference is, Griffin is the future while Shanahan's greatest asset was his reputation and his past championship glory.

When that wasn't good enough to reverse the misery, Bruce Allen stepped in and pulled the plug. Looking back, it was the absolute right thing to do - despite Dan Snyder and Allen not being overjoyed at the thought of paying seven million dollars to Shanahan and several more million to parts of his staff that were fired.

You can't reverse the past, you can only learn from it and get better from it. That mission started long ago behind the scenes,  but is finally coming to fruition in more obvious ways.

A team's fortunes or failures is often tied to their quarterback. Such as the case with the Redskins and Robert Griffin III.

Clearly, there are many roster issues that needed and still need upgrading. Free agency is far from complete, as Bruce Allen noted to ESPN 980 over the weekend and the NFL draft is still well over a month away.

Redskins players have not even been able to talk any meaningful football with their new head coach Jay Gruden in the nearly three months he has been on the job. That's not because he doesn't want to or they are not interested. Simply, they are not allowed.

Many players work out at Redskins Park on a daily basis, with trainers and under the watchful eye of Head Strength  and Conditioning Coach Ray Wright.

Robert Griffin III is at the facility daily, but because of the collective bargaining agreement, he is prevented from doing much more than that, which is to say continued rehab and core strengthening.

So what is a quarterback to do? How does he go about getting his work in and his timing?

One way, is to go to Arizona for a "Redskins West" passing camp with several offensive weapons like Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed and Alfred Morris for a few days of workouts.

The other way? Throw the ball around to ESPN 980's Chris Cooley. Yup. Cooley, has a full time job of 4-7 on "The Drive" with Czabe and Al Galdi but  Griffin III and Cooley have met at a local field near Redskins Park and helped each other out.

"I'll say he looks awesome right now, per the fact that I've been running routes for him," Cooley said on ESPN 980 on Monday. Cooley has done this a couple of times with Griffin over the last few weeks, as a way for the former Redskins tight end to stay in shape and to help out his former teammate.

Cooley said something that I had not really heard from him in various conversations about Griffin's progress. "I'm watching him run and it's like 'You're back to the Robert I saw when you first walked thru the door here.'

Sure, it's easy to say that in March, but one thing I've learned about Cooley from covering him and now working with him on ESPN 980, Redskins Radio and our TV/web show on Redskins.com - he doesn't like to talk a lot of nonsense. He's honest and real. Sometimes he'll ruffle feathers.

On Monday, Cooley was relaying his observations as a member of the media, but more importantly as somebody who played the game at a high level and knows what he is looking for. "I literally am out there running around. I'm thinking man I feel pretty good. I'm really running well, like running good routes.  We're (Griffin III and Cooley) talking about how to run different kinds of  routes, what you like, what I like. I feel like I'm looking good," Cooley said on "The Drive."

Then the jargon turned slightly to football and humor mixed together. "For fun, I'm like run a 'stick-nod' route, an 'out-and-up and go.' Cooley continued. "Dude comes out of the break, and it's like  'yeah, I'm not running very well compared to what he just did.'

It was classic Cooley. Funny, but well timed and delivered with sarcasm.
 
"If that route was 40 yards, he was two seconds," Cooley explained. That might be stretching the truth a bit, but he's trying to point out how fast Griffin III is running already. It's only March.

This is significant because "he didn't run  last off-season," Cooley said on ESPN 980.  "He didn't sprint at all last off-season. He didn't plant. He didn't put his foot in the ground.  You can't be 100%."
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At which point, Steve Czaban said "it's almost like he shouldn't have started the season." Again, Cooley with a touch of sarcasm, perfectly deliverd a rebuttal to Czaban, "Yeah, It is like that."

Whatever. I'm not here to re-hash all that went down in Griffin's first two years. All that matters now is moving forward.  The past is done.  

Here's something that will make you feel good if you are a Redskins fan, something that should warm you up on what should be the last frigid March day we'll have in 2013.

Cooley finished his assessment on Griffin III with this, "From first-hand watching him run, throw, work -- "He's healthy. He's really healthy. So I like where we're at there.  I feel really good about that."

Chris Russell - SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com - www.twitter.com/russellmania980



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