ASHBURN, Va. -- A year ago, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was still far from full health during organized team activities and minicamp.
There were daily questions about his health, his progress and his immediate future, and all wore on Griffin as he tried to both rehabilitate his surgically repaired right knee and prepare for the 2013 season.
It proved too much. Griffin, limited during training camp and without a single preseason game under his belt, labored through a disappointing season, feuding with his coaches, fending off criticism from teammates and finally, being shut down with three games left in what became a 3-13 campaign.
Those dark days seem far behind him now. Griffin is 17 months removed from the surgery to fix a torn lateral collateral ligament and a damaged anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He will not wear a brace again this season.
"Like I said, you deal with the hand that you're dealt," Griffin said. "I had to wear the brace last year, had to come off an injury last year, and this year I don't -- and I thank God for that -- and play to that hand. It's been good to be out here and get this extra work in with everybody."
Last fall, Griffin's mobility was clearly limited. Defensive linemen and linebackers he would have left in the dust the year before chased him down with regularity. The elusiveness that terrified opponents in 2012 was gone.
He has a new head coach, Jay Gruden, and a revamped coaching staff. Former tight ends coach Sean McVay is now the offensive coordinator, and Gruden will call the plays. For now, they are stressing communication and coordination in the passing game between Griffin and his receivers, including new addition DeSean Jackson, who was let go by the Philadelphia Eagles in a stunning move in late March and quickly signed with Washington.
"We're not perfect, and I don't think anybody is right now," Gruden said of the passing game during OTAs. "There's been some out routes too sharp, not sharp enough, maybe a little bit short, maybe a little deep. But I think the more we watch it, the more we rep it, the more comfortable (Griffin is) going to be of knowing where people are and what depths and how they're coming out of their cuts. Precision is very important, and accuracy in any offense, but especially in the type of offense we're running."
It hasn't helped that Jackson went down with a hamstring injury during the team's first OTA session on May 29, missed the following week and was still dealing with soreness Wednesday at Redskins Park, though he did make it through the full workout. Griffin also needs to work on his timing with free agent signee Andre Roberts, formerly of the Arizona Cardinals.
Gruden's version of the West Coast offense includes an emphasis on a power running game to go with the usual quick reads and short passes a quarterback must make. Jackson provides the deep threat Griffin lacked last year and takes pressure off Pierre Garcon, who set a franchise single-season record with 113 receptions. It is a work in progress to figure out what Griffin can handle and how much Gruden can add in his first season, but Griffin is happy just to have the chance to put in the work this spring.
"I feel real comfortable," Griffin said. "I've had a chance to have my hands and my eyes on the playbook, in the playbook. Watching film and everything for a long time now, so I feel very comfortable with it. It's very multiple. We had a lot of weapons out there. It's just about us getting to the right plays and getting guys the ball and letting them go make plays."