Griffin smiling earlier this week (USA TODAY SPORTS IMAGES)
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Training camp is done -- hallelujah. Kidding. But seriously. Here are the three major impressions I'm taking with me back to D.C.
1) Robert Griffin III might be the NFL's most popular player
Behind Tiger Woods, LeBron James and maybe Kobe Bryant, no sports superstar in the entire world has as much hysteria surrounding him than Robert Griffin III. And playing off the Spiderman quote, with great popularity comes great scrutiny.
Griffin's Monday press conference, where he stated in a professional manner that he didn't agree with his coach, registered a 7.8 on the Richter scale, shaking the media world more than Tom Brady's knee injury just a few days later. As Grantland.com writes, it was impossible to root against Griffin last season, but now it will become the norm amongst average NFL fans across the country. We are in the beginning phases of what will become the overexposure and constant ridicule of RGIII.
We knew every time he breathes, it becomes a headline -- the wedding gifts from fans, the new house in Leesburg, his honeymoon in Europe. Now we realize that ESPN, Fox Sports 1, anyone and everyone with a Twitter will have Griffin on full blast mode this season. Because of the hype created by the 24/7 news cycle, Griffin rarely leaves our screens -- televisions, tablets and phones. Because he may be the most charismatic and exciting player in the entire NFL, bosses at major networks will demand daily segments and articles on the Redskins quarterback, even when drawing attention does not make sense. Think Tim Tebow -- but let's pray it's not nearly as bad.
What's crazy about RGIII is that one of his greatest traits, being an honest leader, has given him unnecessary and negative attention from media outlets across the world. Would we rather have him give robotic answers, or even lie, than be the person he truly is? Apparently some of you do. Regardless of what happens next, people will want to see Griffin and his Redskins fail this season.
2) Dan Snyder made a brilliant decision by moving camp to Richmond
The final numbers are in for fans who attended training camp: a whopping 165,571 fans in 16 days. As someone who was there for a large portion of camp, it honestly felt like more. People would literally sit and twiddle their thumbs for nearly three hours in between the morning walk through and the afternoon practice. But that still didn't dwindle the energy. The buzz in the crowd -- with marching bands and contests for fans -- honestly felt like a Friday night high school game in Texas.
Think of moving camp to Richmond this way: instead of a stale 10-year marriage in Ashburn, Richmond is still in the honeymoon phase. She cooks breakfast for you in the morning, always brushes her teeth before a kiss. She's genuinely excited to see you.
And the best part for Snyder: the Richmond people bought in. They only have VCU basketball and minor league baseball, so the arrival of the Redskins was a major deal for the city. I'm willing to bet close to 1,000 fans from Richmond go to Fed Ex Field this season for the first time, spending hundreds of dollars. Snyder cashed in at the perfect opportunity.
Side note: I thoroughly enjoyed the nightlife in Richmond. It's got a small town vibe and the people are much more friendly then D.C. You can approach a random group without getting lambasted. Shutout to City Dogs, Cha-Cha's and Starlight for the hospitality.
3) The Redskins are a confident bunch
Barry Cofield says if the Redskins aren't a top five defense, "changes should be made." Brian Orakpo thinks he's a NFL defensive player of the year candidate. Aldrick Robinson says he's going to score eight touchdowns. Kyle Shanahan is looking forward to unveiling new parts of the read-option offense to counter what NFL defenses have prepared for all offseason. Obviously RGIII thinks he will better again this season, and maybe even an MVP candidate.
The main point of this 4,000 word Griffin III essay I penned talked about who he breathes confidence onto anyone who touches him. For the first time since Joe Gibbs part I, the Redskins believe in themselves. Not only do they believe a bye week in the playoffs is in sight, it's become the expectation.