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.
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