Gruden: RG3's 'a good, solid leader and he's excited to get to work'

Jay Gruden has high hopes for Robert Griffin III. (USATSI)
Jay Gruden has high hopes for Robert Griffin III. (USATSI)

After four mostly tumultuous seasons under Mike Shanahan, the Redskins are now looking to new coach Jay Gruden to right the ship. His first order of business: Getting franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III back to his franchise quarterbacking form.

“Last year was a tough year, it was a humbling year for a lot of people, especially for [Griffin],” Gruden said, via the Washington Post. “He’s eager to get back into shape. He’s eager to work. He’s got great work ethic already. I can see that. He’s excited to get the new playbook. ...

“I think the one thing about him is he’s a very fiery competitor. You can see that. He’s a good, solid leader, and he’s excited to get to work. Obviously, he has a ton of talent that we have to mold and get him comfortable in the offense.”

After a breakout performance as a rookie in 2012, Griffin limped through a forgettable 2013 season. It started in Week 1, after he missed the entire preseason while rehabbing an ACL injury suffered the previous January, and he was eventually benched for the Redskins' final three games. Still, Gruden is nothing but optimistic.

"He's only going to be in his third year," Gruden said of his quarterback. "Last year was a tough year, a humbling year for a lot of people, especially him. He's eager to get back into shape, eager to work. He's got a great work ethic -- I can already see that. ...

"It could be [difficult] for some guys if they are not mentally tough," the coach continued. "But the good thing about Robert is that he's a tough kid. He's going to let last year be a learning experience for him, and he's going to do everything in his power to not let it happen again.

"If you're a mentally tough kid, a physically tough kid like he is, he can have a bright future as long as he doesn't let it affect him in too negative or too positive a way. Just stay even-keeled, because there's not question about the talent he possesses."

As the Redskins were imploding late last season, rumors emerged that RG3 was a diva, required special attention from the coaches, and wasn't well liked in the locker room. You'd never know any of that reading this recent tweet from Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall:

The takeaway, as always: Winning fixes everything. And if the Redskins can do that in 2014 the previous 12 months will quickly become a distant memory.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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