Robert Griffin III poised as Sean Taylor, says Chris Cooley

ASHBURN, Va. -- As a veteran of nine NFL training camps, Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley has seen rookies come and go. All have behaved in some way or other like typical newbies -- a little tentative, a bit awe-struck, usually deferential to the team's established way of doing things.

All but two. Sean Taylor and Robert Griffin III.

As Griffin wraps up his first NFL camp this week, the No. 2 overall draft pick from Baylor has shown that he's talented and has lots to learn. No surprise there. What's impressed teammates most has been his poise.

"It's a phenomenon that he's come in and not been a rookie," Cooley said Monday. "No one looks at him as a rookie. You don't see young players come in and say 'This is my team.'

"I thought I could play, but I came as a rookie with big eyes, and maybe the only guy I've seen do that, what he's kind of done and say, 'I'm not going to be a rookie on this team' is Sean Taylor. Maybe the only guy that came here and said, 'I don't care where I am, I don't care who I'm playing against -- I'm going to be the best on the field.' He's had that confidence as a quarterback."

Taylor, who was shot and killed at his Florida home in 2007, was an immensely talented safety with a nobody-can-intimidate-me persona, but he also had his share of off-field problems and never had a good relationship with the media. Griffin, by contrast, gets close to a perfect score for style points: He smiles and says the right things, with barely a whiff of controversy.

"I've never seen doubt in that kid's mind," Cooley said.

That's a strong statement, and a couple of plays in Griffin's first preseason game last week at Buffalo show why there's so much promise and so little doubt.

Forget the raw stats -- 4 for 6 for 70 yards and a touchdown -- Griffin had two plays that showed his rapid maturation: an audible to get out of a quarterback keeper when he noticed weakside pressure, and a completion in which he went to his fourth read without a thought of pulling the ball down to run. Showing he has the lingo down pat, he said the play worked because: "We high-lowed the backside hook player."

"You can be confident; you can never be overconfident," Griffin said. "And I think the experience in the Buffalo game kind of reassured myself, reassured everybody else why they brought me here."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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