Griffin tries to keep even keel,
You can ‘play up the moment too much,’ rookie QB says as Dallas game looms.
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.