Grif­fin tries to keep even keel,

You can ‘play up the moment too much,’ rookie QB says as Dal­las game looms.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - Byjoseph White

ASH­BURN, VA. — Com­pare what was said Wed­nes­day by Robert Grif­fin III and Mike Shana­han. One sounds like a stereo­typ­i­cal coach. The other could be mis­taken for an overea­ger player.

A case of role re­ver­sal hit the Washington Red­skins on Wed­nes­day. The rookie quar­ter­back down­played Sun­day’s win­ner-take-all game against the Dal­las Cow­boys with one-game-at-atime-type an­swers, while the veteran hard-nosed coach was the one whose words could be fea­tured on a ban­ner to pro­mote a game that will de­cide the NFC East.

“It’s the big­gest stage, but none of us are look­ing at it that way,” Grif­fin said. “It’s an­other game we have to go out and win, and that’s the way we look at it. Ev­ery moment in your life is the big­gest one at that time, so we look for­ward to hav­ing many more of th­ese, but we’ve got to make sure we take care of this one.”

Grif­fin, elected a team cap­tain at mid­sea­son, said he’ll give his team­mates that same even-keel mes­sage.

“Bas­ket­ball, the big game, track, the fi­nals, what­ever it is, when­ever you play the moment up too much it can be­come too big to seize the moment,” said Grif­fin, whose big mo­ments in­clude win­ning a bowl game and the Heis­man Tro­phy while at Bay­lor. “So you just want to make sure you don’t make some­thing so big that you can’t grab ahold of it.”

Af­ter Grif­fin left the room, along came Shana­han, who is look­ing to end a per­sonal play­off drought.

The coach won two Su­per Bowls with John El­way and the Den­ver Broncos in the 1990s but lost make-or-break games in the fi­nal weeks of the 2006 and 2008 sea­sons. He hasn’t been to the post­sea­son since 2005.

“Th­ese are the games you’ll re­mem­ber for the rest of your life. Win or go home,” Shana­han said. “I don’t care what play­off game, when I look back as an as­sis­tant or as a head coach, you go back and you think about the great ex­pe­ri­ences you had or the bad mem­o­ries you have.

“You want to take ad­van­tage of th­ese op­por­tu­ni­ties when they ex­ist. They don’t come around ev­ery day. And when they do come around, you want to make sure that you play your best and you pre­pare your­self the best pos­si­ble way.

“And you tell that guys that this is not just a nor­mal game. You’ve got to make sure the at­ten­tion to de­tail’s there. You can’t make mis­takes. The con­cen­tra­tion level’s got to be there.”

The Cow­boys-Red­skins game has been moved to Sun­day night and will mark the end of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

It’s pos­si­ble that Washington (9-6) could lose to Dal­las and still get a wild card berth, but only if the Chicago Bears and Min­nesota Vik­ings both lose their games ear­lier in the day.

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