ASHBURN, Va. -- He was hailed as the savior a year ago; now he faces mostly tough questions and speculation. He'll never be the same. He can't be a pocket passer. Maybe he's not who everyone thought he was.
Robert Griffin III is being tested this season, at least when it comes to handling adversity. It's not as if he's played poorly all season and, in fact, has played three good games in the past four. Still, it's new territory for Griffin.
And such is life for an NFL quarterback, including one in a big market.
"Right now, it's not a burden," Griffin said. "It's a burden if you make it a burden. You've got to believe. I understand what comes with being the quarterback of the Washington Redskins. I understand what comes with being a quarterback in the NFL. And yeah, it might be a little harder here because of certain aspects of what goes on around this team. I understand that. I've got tough skin."
He also knows this isn't small-town Texas or Baylor University. It's the NFL and the Washington Redskins and the spotlight is greater. He said that's what he meant by saying what goes on around the team.
"Our fan base is great. They demand success. They got a taste of it last year and they're going to want more of that and we've got to provide it and we will," Griffin said. "Those are some of the factors that go into it. It's not a small town. It's not a small city. It's part of it and I understand that. You're in the big city, bright lights and you've got to perform and that's what we're going to do."
He said the way he was brought up, from a disciplined military household, helps him now.
"I have all that inside of me and that's all it takes," Griffin said. "You've got to have it inside of you to make it in this world and that's what I have got to do."
Among the criticisms: He's not a pocket passer. For now, that's accurate as Griffin operates best when the Redskins ask him to be multi-dimensional. But he's been hot on third downs in the past two games, completing 16-of-21 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns -- and most have come on straight dropbacks. He's third in the NFL the past two weeks on third downs with a total quarterback rating of 97.0, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
"Any quarterback out there knows you have to be able to operate from the pocket and that's something I feel like I can do, but you can always get better," Griffin said. "You're always striving to be perfect and you're striving for perfection but nobody was perfect so that's the great thing about it and I feel like I can be that, and will be that."